- Associated Press - Monday, February 9, 2015

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A Waterloo middle-school student is showing his community how to give by celebrating his birthday at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.

Ben Crandall, a Kingsley Elementary fifth-grader, will have his 11th birthday party at the food bank, where guests will bring donations of food and money in lieu of gifts. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/1zBXsLh ) reports that party guests will also help clean and organize the donations that will be distributed.

Crandall got the idea for a food bank birthday party after driving with his mother past a public service billboard that stated that one in five children does not know where his or her next meal is coming from. The message resonated with Crandall, who decided to give to others.

“That means 20 percent of kids don’t have food,” Sara Durrwachter, Crandall’s mother, said he told her. “That’s like five kids in my class.”

That statistic inspired Crandall to throw the party at the food bank and ask others for donations.

“I’m cool with not getting gifts,” he said.

The staff at the food bank will be taking pictures of all of the donations so that they can show on their social media sites what the efforts of one individual can do.

“I really hope that by him kind of spearheading this it will create something with other children around the Cedar Valley,” said Sunni Kagebein, the food bank’s director of external relations.

Crandall’s classmates, his teacher and his principal will be in attendance.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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