My name is Memphis. I am turning 13 at the end of February. For the last 9 years I have used the occasion of my birthday to help charities. Since I was 5 this charity has been the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Here's how it works, I think about setting a goal to achieve and then I work the weekends leading up to my birthday in order to reach that goal. I'm proud to say that I've made my goal each year! For my twelfth birthday I've already been giving it a lot of thought. I decided to raise 12,000 meals for the REFB, it's going to take a lot of work, but I know I can do it!
My birthday charity work started with the Early Learning Institute, which helped me early on in my life. I wanted to return the favor by getting them things that they used. My mom suggested that we ask our friends and family to make a donation to the Institute instead of purchasing a gift for my birthday. Together we raised 385 dollars for the Institute. And much to my surprise I still had lots of presents to open. And that’s how my tradition started.
The following year I raised almost 900 dollars for the Cotati’s Kids Day Parade, one of my favorite events. I met the Mayor and gave him a giant check. For my 5th birthday I selected the Redwood Empire Food bank, I met Billy who works there and we have been working together since then. That year my efforts provided over 700 meals. Three years ago my parents read a story to me about the local Toyota dealership and how many meals they provided. I told my parents I wanted to do more than that for my 6th. We spend weekends ahead of my birthday out in front of our local market collecting donations and had a collect point at our local coffee shop. With my pop’s help we set up a online account at Crowdrise which combined with some posting on Facebook really helped me to exceed my goal. Billy from Redwood Empire Food Bank calculated up all the food and dollars and determined that we all had provided 5335 meals. I also got to tour the Food Bank’s collection center to see where the food collected is sorted and distributed.
For my 7th birthday, we again worked with Billy to raise over 8300 meals for the Food Bank. I was interviewed by the Press Democrat which was pretty fun.
For my 8th birthday, the goal was 8888 meals. We end it up doing over 10000!! I want to thank everyone who helped us break our goal.
My 9th birthday we raised over 15,000 meals. Talk about making an impact, that was an amazing year. I got donations from Australia, Japan and Switzerland from people who heard about me from my Facebook page. Garvin Thomas also heard about me and featured a story about my food drive on Garvin Thomas Bay Area Proud.
My 10th year was another great one raising enough to provide 14,394 meals. Last year when I turned 11 was the best year ever, I teamed up with Sonoma State Athletic Union and even spoke at one of the Men's basketball games, Cliff Bar helped by sending a few pallets of bars and I tabled weekends at Oliver's and at my soccer club Santa Rosa United we were able to provide enough donations to create 16,040 meals. And finally last year, I turned 12 and we provided 21,209 meals Over the last 8 years of supporting the REFB we have provided over 90,000 meals. I know together we can break the 100,000 meals mark this year. Thank you for the continued support of the food bank and our community.
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