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9-year-old’s food drive feeds raises nearly 2,500 meals

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - More than 2,500 cans fill the lobby at Cloverdale Elementary School all gathered for the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket as part of Tommy's Food Drive.

It's hard to believe the food drive grew from a little kid's big idea.

"I was coming home from my grandmother's with my dad and we heard a little ad," 9-year-old Tommy Cements said. "It said there were people who didn't have enough money to buy food. So I suggested we should buy them all dinner."

His mom and dad say, he had an idea, and he wouldn't let it go. So they helped him set a more realistic goal.

"He kind of just ran with it," Frankie Clements said. "Obviously, we don't have the funds to provide dinner for all those that need help around this time of year... So we started a food drive for him."

Four years later, the food drive is an overwhelming success. Tommy meets with the community food basket, the owner of Indian motorcycles and realtors at Morgan Peterson to see how they can help. Even Cloverdale's PTO got involved.

"My son has been friends with Tommy since kindergarten. And so last year, when I started to be a part of the PTO, I saw his mom pick up the box that was here for the school to donate. And I saw that there just wasn't much in it," PTO spokesperson Chris Beck said. "I asked Tommy and his mom to come in and kind of explain why he does what he's doing with his food drive and then asked if we as a school would like to do something to help."

The drive became a contest between classes, and soon every classroom was racing to bring in the most cans.

"The school was talking about it. The kids were talking about it. The kids were telling me I brought this many cans. Or Mrs. Beck, I did this," Beck said. "It's so encouraging to see just at a small age how much a difference, the love that the kids have and want to give if they're given the opportunity."

Last year, they gathered more than 2500 meals for the food basket. Seeing how the community rallies around Tommy's idea can make mom a little emotional.

"It brings me to tears every year. Just the heart of this kid and the drive he has to help other people. Not many kids would take it this far," Frankie Clements said. "We do get a lot of help from community members... But just the fact that this is all Tommy."

And the fun's not over yet. Realtors at Girder and Peterson in Idaho Falls have invited the community to a holiday party Saturday, Dec. 17 where they'll be collecting final donations for Tommy's Food Drive. The event runs from 10 am to 2 pm.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls
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Seth Ratliff

Seth is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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