SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — After every COVID-19 news briefing, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon ends with good news in the community. Thursday’s news is inspiring.
Like other teenagers, 18-year -old Caden is finishing his senior year at Skaneateles High School at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But unlike other teens Caden lives with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening hereditary disease that affects the lungs and digestive system.
Caden has been granted a wish through Make-A-Wish.
But unlike other wishes, Caden is using his wish to combat hunger in the community.
He knew the impact COVID-19 had on families and kids whose primary access to meals were through school. He knew he could have a significant impact on local children who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs and decided to use his wish to make a difference for those struggling with hunger.
To make Caden’s with come true, Make-A-Wish Central New York has partnered with Food Bank of Central New York to enhance its school break box program. A food drive on May 30 will collect needed items for the boxes, which have been renamed “Caden’s Wish Break Boxes.” The boxes will be packed in mid-June and mid-July, then distributed by the Food Bank to various youth service sites over the course of 10 weeks. A total of 2,125 boxes will be distributed this summer to locations throughout Cayuga and Onondaga counties through Caden’s wish.
“During a time when wishes had to be postponed due to COVID-19, both the ability to grant Caden’s wish and the very nature of his wish are both so meaningful,” said Make-A-Wish Central New York President and CEO Diane Kuppermann. “Caden is an extraordinary young man making an extraordinary difference to kids and families in our community.”
“Food Bank is thrilled to partner with Make-A-Wish Central New York to grant Caden’s wish,” said Karen Belcher, Interim Executive Director at Food Bank of Central New York. “He is an extraordinary young man who has chosen to use his wish to help children struggling with hunger. During this difficult time, Caden is a true inspiration to us. His wish has reminded us everyone has the power to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. Caden has made an impact on all of us at the Food Bank and our intention is to continue Caden’s wish for years to come to help others in his honor.”
For those interested in supporting Caden’s wish food drive, food donations will be accepted on Saturday, May 30 at Destiny USA’s Silver Parking lot, right across the Embassy Suites from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Donors are asked to bag or box their donations. Volunteers will remove donations from vehicles and place them inside a mobile food pantry truck provided by the Food Bank of Central New York. Syracuse Police Department will help with traffic control. You’ll find a list of items needed below.
For those unable to donate to or participate in the drive, monetary donations in support of Caden’s wish may be made to either the Food Bank or Make-A-Wish Central New York.
For more information about Make-A-Wish Central New York, visit cny.wish.org. For information about Food Bank of Central New York, visit foodbankcny.org.
Items Needed for Caden’s Wish Break Boxes:
- Canned fruit
- 100% juice drink boxes
- Mac & cheese
- Canned meals such as canned ravioli, canned spaghetti
- Tuna fish/canned chicken/pork & beans
- Peanut butter
- Graham crackers
- Pretzels/tortilla/popcorn – individual size bags