One mum, who snapped photos of her son with five trolleys overflowing with school supplies worth $1,300, has been overwhelmed by the response to her social media post — after she shared the touching story behind it.
Posting on the Facebook page Kmart Home Decor & Hacks, the Queensland mum revealed the haul wasn’t for her family.
All the goods will be donated to children in need and her son, Sam, is the driving force behind it, she revealed.
“My son does a big school supply drive fundraiser every year to help children in need. With our beautiful community’s help he’s given 75,000 school supplies and this year hoping to reach 100,000,” Tanya wrote.
“He gets no funding, it’s all community’s help and this money was from him selling his own made dog photography calendars.”
Tanya’s post has been liked by 18,000 people, while more than 1,000 people have commented, with Sam’s dog calendar now a sought after item.
Users heaped praise on Sam, saying he should be proud of his achievements and describing him as “an extraordinary young man”, “an amazing kind hearted boy” and a “beautiful soul”.
Tanya told news.com.au that Sam had started fundraising when he was just eight years old.
It was kickstarted when he met some kids in the school holidays, who had been sleeping on the floor and had no food for Christmas. He decided to launch the Kids4Kids School Supply Drive.
Now, 13 years old, Sam helps around 10 local schools a year and spends his Christmas holidays going to businesses and shopping centres to collect donations before sorting goods and passing them on to chaplains to distribute, Tanya said.
“It’s definitely taught me a few things. For one, I didn’t know there was a need — when he first came up with the idea I thought it was a lovely idea and it wasn’t until I spoke to the chaplains that there were many families that were doing without,” she said.
“It taught me that there a lot of families struggling for various reasons. We have helped people with cancer and dads out of work so we know of a few different stories of why people have ended up not being able to afford school supplies. There is definitely a need for this sort of thing — we have given out almost 20,000 school supplies a year.”
But Sam doesn’t stop at school supplies, raising money for the homeless, animal shelters, flood victims and other causes. This year, he made $7,000 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation by selling extra dog calendars, his mum said.
Tanya added that Sam is shy and doesn’t like being in the public eye, but has been prepared to step out of his comfort zone to help the cause.
She never expected the massive response to her social media post either, but just wanted to give a shout out to the Kmart employee.
“I was overwhelmed with the response and couldn’t believe all the beautiful comments,” she said. “I just wanted to thank the shopkeeper as the cashier opened up on purpose for us, they were really helpful, it was definitely after she had finished and she counted every single item and I wanted to give her some praise.”
To find out more about Sam’s efforts, check out his fundraising page here.