Second Grader Organizes Mass Homeless Shelter Donation

7-year-old Jonathon Slack cried when he saw a homeless woman, then he decided to help

By Andrew Greiner and Natalie Martinez
|  Wednesday, Dec 30, 2009  |  Updated 4:36 PM CDT
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Obama's Littlest Constituents

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Mother, Son Explain Impetus for Donation Drive

Second grader collected over four truckloads of food and toys after seeing a homeless woman during a holiday trip to Chicago
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He may be a little guy, but he helps homeless folks in a big way.

After seeing a homeless woman during a holiday trip to Chicago, Jonathon Slack, a seven-year-old boy from Orland Park, led a 10-day donation drive, collecting over four truckloads of food and toys for a Chicago shelter.

Jonathon was moved to tears when he saw the homeless woman standing outide of Macy's on State Street, holding a sign that said she and her son had no place to live. After he finished crying, he was moved to action. 

"At home that night after I read to him and getting him ready to be tucked in, he started crying," said Heather Slack, his mother.

He told his mom, "That lady had no shelter, mom."

"He wanted us to drive back to the city so that he could give the lady the $6 he had in his pocket," Heather said. 



The Slacks weren’t sure that was a good idea, but they encouraged Jonathon to think of other ways to help. He thought of plenty. 



He was going to paint smiley faces on rocks and sell them. He was going to ask president Obama to take money from rich people and give it to poor people. 



His mother suggested starting a donation. 



So Jonathon wrote a letter asking his community to pitch in. He dropped off photocopies all around his neighborhood. 



The response was tremendous. The youngster managed to collect over four truckloads of food and toys, which he then sent to the Su Casa Catholic Worker homeless shelter in Chicago.

"We got started late and people only had 10 days to get their donations together," Heather said. "They ended up donating about four and a half trucks worth of stuff. We ended up filling their whole elevator with food."

Jessi Gauger-Kiraly, the volunteer coordinator at the Su Casa Catholic Worker House remembers the day well. 

"It was really exciting because we had a lot people moving donations in and out of the house," Gauger-Kiraly said. "It’d be nice if people did this all year round." 



"I don't know where it came from," Heather Slack said of her son's selfless drive.  "Last year we tried to get him to realize there were people less fortunate, and it wasn't working, and this year I'd like to think that it was Divine Intervention."

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