[cleeng_content id="700158373" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]CHARLES TOWN – Sam Lake of Charles Town likes many things: math, history, soccer, basketball—and helping others.
That’s why last month, as he planned to celebrate his 10th birthday with a party at Skyline Paintball & Laser Tag in Winchester, Va., he decided to use his birthday as a way to raise money for Meals On Wheels of Jefferson County, the nonprofit that delivers hot meals to dozens of elderly residents in the county.
Sam, a fourth-grader at Faith Christian Academy in Martinsburg, invited friends to come to the party but bring donations for MOW instead of gifts for him.
The youngster’s gift of $280 for MOW will provide funding for more than 11 weeks of meals for one Meals On Wheels recipient.
Roger Dailey, president of the MOW-JC, was pleased to see Sam’s efforts. “I think it’s great that someone that young thinks about others before he thinks of himself,” Dailey said. “I think it speaks a lot about our younger generation. Plus, every dollar helps!’
Sam explains his decision to forgo presents this way: “Meals On Wheels needs things more than I do. They need to keep this help (feeding people) and I thought I needed to help them do that more than I needed presents.”
Sam said he had heard about the recent MOW-JC funding shortage from his grandmother, Darla Ambrose, a MOW-JC board member and longtime volunteer. In fact, Sam has helped his grandma out at previous MOW-JC fundraisers.
Ambrose predicts her grandson’s involvement with Meals On Wheels will continue. “Sam wants to volunteer at Meals On Wheels when he gets old enough,” she said. “He just needs to be old enough to get his food handler’s card.”
His mother, Ann Lake, is pleased, too. “I’m proud – absolutely – that he thinks about others before he thinks of himself.”
Sam said giving and helping makes him happy. “It feels amazing when you give the money – to know you are making a difference,” he said. “Parents are nice, and they give us what we need. What more do we need?”
Sam has a kindred spirit in his best friend, 9-year-old Charles Town resident Kendyl Polen. She accompanied him to present the donation to Dailey.
When Kendyl turned 9 last April, she asked friends to donate items to Jefferson County Community Ministries instead of getting presents for herself. She collected more than 150 pounds of food as well as items for JCCM’s clothes closet.
Kelli Polen said she’s proud of her daughter and Sam. “When they were 3, Sam and Kendyl made lemonade and whoopee pies and sold them to raise money for the Jefferson County Humane Society,” Polen said. “They both truly realize that they have so much to be thankful for – and have always been willing to give to others who are not as fortunate as they are.”[/cleeng_content]