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7-year-old organizes successful food drive for the Mercy House

When 7-year-old Dante Olshefski set out to do a good deed, he had no idea he would inspire so many others to do the same. Dante, who is in second grade, came home from school one day and told his mom he wanted to help people in need.

After some discussion and with the guidance of his family, Dante chose to support the Mercy House, a charitable organization of the Archdiocese of Newark that serves needy families in Newark. And so, “Dante’s Food Drive” was born.

With the help of his principal, Dante created a flyer, which was approved by the local Board of Education, and distributed it to school families.  His mom also shared the flyer on Facebook and Dante personally reached out to people over the phone and spoke to his class about the project.

The results of this grassroots marketing campaign was unbelievable, said Dante’s mom, Melissa Olshefski.

“Four bins placed outside in the driveway needed to be emptied every two hours or they would overflow,” she said. “Dante couldn't even believe it. It exceeded all expectations.”

Dante was in shock for days about how much food they received, Melissa explained. He said: “We can help so many people, Mom. This is amazing!"

Family, friends, teachers, and neighbors dropped off enough food in three days to feed 60 families.

Other school parents said the food drive positively influenced their children, some donating money from their piggy banks, and many conveyed they want to help again in the future.

Dante says he has the best family, friends, school, and town and thinks next time he will need more space for the food and more delivery trucks.

Learn about the Mercy House by visiting online.