First grade student Gavin Melvin remembers the exact moment he was inspired to find ways to help others in need.
“I went to the city with my mom, my sister and my grandmother, and there was a lonely homeless person who had no food, so we had some a pizza and gave it to him,” said Gavin, who spent the ride home from the city and following days thinking about his experience and sharing his concern with his mom, Falon, about all of the other people out there who may be in need of a helping hand.
“He wanted to talk about ways he could help,” said Falon, adding that it was around Halloween that Gavin caught wind of a need right here in the community, mothers who cannot afford diapers.
“Gavin decided to take a stand and create his own diaper drive,” said his very impressed teacher, Ms. Laura Campora. “He did it all, from signs to gathering the donations and delivering the diapers. He even had his own social media campaign to increase donations – in fact, that’s how I actually first found out about it!”
Gavin and family collected upwards of 50 boxes of diapers and baby wipes, and all of it went to the Mother’s Cupboard at St. Stephen’s Church, a group that distributes diapers and other supplies to local mothers in need. He didn’t stop there.
“If you ask Gavin about the diaper drive, he’s very modest about taking credit. But, it’s also clear just how excited he is about the difference he made,” said Ms. Campora. “His acts of kindness didn’t stop with the diaper drive either. Ask him about the coat drive!”
During a busy season of giving, Gavin has indeed also managed to gather up considerable donations for not one, but two additional local charities drives – one collecting winter coats, and one collecting toys.
When I spoke to Gavin, he told me that he and his family had just delivered the toys that day.
“We did the toy drive through our church, St. Stephen’s,” said Gavin with a thumbs up, adding an enthusiastic shout-out to ‘St. Steve’s!’
Gavin’s efforts have also extended to a local Coat Drive. With all this charitable activity going on, you might wonder how Gavin finds time for his studies. He’s doing great in the classroom, too, although not everything’s as he’d prefer it to be. Gavin’s academics reflect the same hard work seen in his charity efforts, and he says his favorite subjects are the three classics – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. He says he leans toward Reading, though.
“I like reading because I like to get information,” said Gavin, who prefers non-fiction, which is what his class is working on now with Ms. Campora and Instructional Aide Josephine DiSalvo.
When asked if he has any future plans for more charity work, Gavin had some ambitious goals to share.
“I’ve got lots of plans,” he said. “I think there will be more diapers coming. I’d like to get 10,000 boxes of diapers if we can!
Gavin said he’s also been reading a book about a group of people who travelled to the continent of Africa to help build schools in rural regions of some African nations. While he’s got plenty of time to think about something like that, let’s just say that Gavin’s interest has certainly been piqued.
Park Ave. Elementary first-grader Gavin Melvin collected diapers and wipes for local mothers in need that were distributed through Mother’s Cupboard. He also collected coats and toys for those in need.