WALDO, Maine — A few years ago, the four-member Suderley family was in a financial jam.
Mike Suderley was ill and had lost his job, and things were tight.
But then people in the community helped, providing clothes for the two children and Christmas presents, and it made a big difference, they said.
“I felt a lot of great comfort,” Morgan Suderley, 11, said Friday afternoon at their Waldo home. “Lots of people want to do nice things. It happened to us.”
That’s one reason why she and her younger brother, 9-year-old Ethan, decided they wanted to be among the people who do nice things to help others. This spring, they were talking with their mom, Kari, about community service projects and came up with a doozy. They call it “Feed it Forward,” and have been raising money and food to donate to the Belfast Soup Kitchen.
The kids began with a goal of $200 and 100 pounds of food to help the hungry in their community — but so far the drive has been so successful they’ve increased the goal to $1,500 and as much food as possible.
“It’s spread like wildfire,” Morgan, a cheerful chatterbox of a girl, said of the project. “The soup kitchen is stoked.”
People have given pocket change, dollar bills and donations as large as $200 and even $500.
The fundraiser will end Tuesday, July 3. So far, the siblings have raised about $1,300 and more than 200 pounds of food. Businesses have helped, including Walgreens, which donated 80 pounds of food, and both Hannaford and Reny’s, which each donated a $25 gift card.
“We wanted to help do for other people because people helped us when we were struggling,” Mike Suderley said. “People are just incredibly generous.”
“Basically, it’s like a miracle,” Morgan added.
Some of the money has come in via donation boxes set up at various Belfast-area businesses, including Jack’s Grocery, The Green Store, Yo Mamma’s Home and both locations of Belfast Variety.
But a lot of it has come in through a Paypal account that their mom set up and linked to a Facebook page about the project.
Even though one of their donation boxes appears to have been stolen from a downtown Belfast restaurant, both children are excited about the success of the food drive, and glad to be able to make a difference in their community.
“It’s really, really, really, really great,” Ethan said.
Donations to Feed it Forward can be sent in the form of a check addressed to Morgan and Ethan Suderley, 82 East Waldo Road, Waldo 04915.
For information, call Kari Suderley at 323-3567.