Teen seeks food donations to feed the hungry on her birthday

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Sarah Cabrera does not want gifts for her upcoming birthday. Instead, she wants you to help give back to our community.

“I remember telling people this is what I want for my birthday,” Sarah Cabrera said. “They’re like, ‘really you don’t want like cake or presents?'”

Cabrera wants canned soups, bags of rice and any non-perishable food item that will help her reach her goal of 18,000 pounds before she turns 18-years-old.

“For my birthday, every year I would start collecting food and say, ‘hey if you want to come to my party you have to donate, you have to bring five cans of food,'” Cabrera said.

It is gifts Cabrera gives back to feed Southwest Florida’s hunger. A prominent executive has noticed her actions.

“We love Sarah,” said Richard LeBer, CEO of Harry Chapin Food Bank. “She’s been giving to the food bank now for eight years running…it all started when she turned 11.”

Cabrera said she noticed food scarcity surrounding her at that young age.

“When I was in elementary school,” Cabrera said, “I saw a girl who was sitting by herself. She was hungry, but she didn’t have enough food. I shared half my lunch with her, so I kind of kept doing that.”

At age 11, Cabrera’s first donation goal was 100 cans. Last year, the Florida Southwestern student celebrated her 17th birthday by donating nearly 3,000 pounds of food. Now, she wants to give six times that amount, with help from the community.

“She cares so much about people that are hungry,” LeBer said. “Some of whom she may have never met.”

“I’m so in awe of her,” said Cynthia Cabrera, her mother.  “I’m so proud of her. She just has a giving heart.”

You can help Cabrera reach her goal of 18,000 pounds of non-perishable food by her June birthday. Whether she makes her benchmark or not, her intentions to feed hunger are as big as her heart.

“If I do reach this goal I wanna go a little bit bigger,” Cabrera said. “Eventually, I wanna open my own pantry.”

If you would like to donate, click here to find a list of drop off locations.

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