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Bettendorf student uses lunch money to help others

Bettendorf student uses lunch money to help others


With the help of his unspent lunch money, a Bettendorf student worked with his family to feed hungry people.

Craig Bloomingdale, 8, who attends Mark Twain Elementary, and his parents, Ellen and Brent, used money from the account, along with more of their money and donations from others to collect three boxes of food that they then gave to the pantry at their church, All Saints Lutheran Church in Davenport.

Craig, who might want to be a firefighter ... or a mechanic … or a police officer — "I want to be like a lot of things," — said he had some money left over in the food account.

“So we decided to take $50 out of that to buy food and donate it to the food pantry,” he said.

Asked about the size of the boxes, Craig used his arms to make a rough circle, his fingertips closing it. The circle was about as far as 8-year-old's arms could reach.

“One was about this big,” he said.

Then he tightened the circle a little.

“The other one was about this big.”

The circle got smaller again.

“Then another one was like a small one,” he finished.

The food included a box of cereal, peanut butter, stuffing mix, boxed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, canned fruit, canned tomatoes and other staples that covered the basics for making meals — proteins, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables.

“It always makes us extremely happy, humbled and grateful when any person donates to the All Saints Food Pantry,” Bonnie Strittmater, the pantry’s director, said. “When it is a child it is even more moving. God bless Craig for helping and already having compassion for the people who need food.”

The United States Department of Agriculture has been providing food for school districts to distribute to students and will do so through the school year, so Craig did not have to worry about using the money in his school account for lunch, Ellen Bloomingdale said.

The USDA program is an effort to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using the lunch money was his mother’s idea, Craig said.

“I kinda threw it out to him,” she said.

Craig agreed but wanted to broaden the scope.

“He said, 'Put it on Facebook, Mom,’ ” Ellen said.

She said some friends helped with their donations, and the family also added some more of its own money, but other people have also been helping independently because of the effort.

One family worked with their school district to get food to some of the district’s families that needed food and the Bloomingdales know some others who are working to donate food, Ellen said.

At the end of the day, collecting the food felt good.

“We’re helping people so that if they don’t have food they can get the food,” Craig said.


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