To celebrate his birthday, an 8-year-old boy sets up a 24-hour free food pantry to help people his community.
Eagle Jayoda is from Richmond, California, and he just celebrated his 8th birthday last August 24. However, this year, his celebration is not about cakes and presents but about generosity and giving back to the community.
Litlle Free Food Table
When the pandemic hit and shelter-in-place orders were imposed, Eagle Jayagoda thought of ways to help his neighbors safely get food. With the help of his parents, Achala and Sanath, Eagle put up his "Litlle Free Food Table."
Every Sunday, he sets up a table under a tree near their house. He then fills it with food items such as vegetables, beverages, and soup. He also has a sign on his mini pantry that read, "Take what you need." He then waits and personally assists anyone who needs to get some food.
The family initially donated the food items themselves. Eagle also started raising funds by recycling bottles; he used some of his savings to stock the table. They would later receive donations from their North and East neighbors and the Sri Lankan community as well.
His Sunday-only free food table is now a 24-hour free food pantry
For his eighth birthday, Eagle decided to upgrade his food table under a tree on 34th Street and convert it into a 24-hour food pantry. Eagle told GMA that he is super happy to have done his part in this difficult time.
The Jayagodas have always been actively involved in charitable projects, and Eagle's food pantry is his way of taking part in helping the community. It was Eagle "who came up with the idea," his mom, Achala, told Richmond Standard. His 24-hour, weather-proof pantry was custom-built by a family friend, the report noted.
He feels happy when people take items from his food table
Eagle said that the food table is for everybody because everybody gets hungry, and his effort gets rewarded whenever he sees people taking the food items he offered. "He is really enjoying it," his mom said.
She added that it's a great way to teach Eagle about empathy and sharing things as his parents. Hopefully, she said, he will become even more generous when he grows up. Speaking to Good Morning America, she said that she wants Eagle to understand how one can help even if you don't have a lot.
Last June, the Jayagoda family also arranged for a food truck to be sent to first responders and shelter for the homeless, with the help of the Bay Area Sri Lankan community. Eagle also sent backpacks to children in need in their native country, Sri Lanka.
In her Richmond Standard interview, Achala said that life is very uncertain. While other kids easily get everything they want, she wants Eagle to understand the value of working hard to get things.
Eagle is now a third-grade student at St. Johns Catholic School.
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