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Midlands birthday girl asks for non-perishable food to donate instead of presents

Midlands birthday girl asks for non-perishable food to donate instead of presents
Midlands birthday girl asks for non-perishable food to donate instead of presents(Jenna Cisneros)
Updated: Sep. 29, 2019 at 6:32 PM EDT
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IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - For most 10-year-olds, the peak of celebrating a birthday is sparked by the excitement of opening presents.

But for Aleah Johnson, she uses her day to give back.

“I don’t want to feel like a greedy kid. Like something ‘I want more presents.’ I change that to I want more food so I can donate it,” Johnson said.

For the last three years, she’s asked those celebrating her birthday to donate non-perishable food instead of presents.

Those donations are later taken to Harvest Hope Food Bank.

“I do this because I watched this very sad commercial that kind of reminded me of something that happened in my past.”

Tanya Gooden, Aleah’s grandmother said after watching the commercial, “she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said how do I fix that? So this is where that started.”

While it’s personal for her, Aleah says she never wants to see anyone go hungry.

“I do this because I just love to help people, and when I help people I feel like I’m helping everybody as much as I can,” Johnson said.

With Aleah’s big heart and mission to change the world, she says the act of giving will continue for years to come.

“Well I’m going to do this until I turn into sand or dust,” Johnson said. “You can make a difference if you’re any age. Even If you’re three and or up. You can make a difference no matter what.”

Aleah collected about six boxes of non-perishable items and also received roughly $200 dollars in monetary donations.

A spokesperson for Harvest Hope tells WIS: “We are so proud of this young lady for collecting food donations for her neighbors in need, in lieu of birthday presents. We hope she will continue to be a role model in our community to encourage others to give back.”

The family plans to bring the donations to Harvest Hope Monday morning.

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