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A celebration of kindness: Two local boys celebrate their birthdays with food drive


Elizabeth Medora

NORTH VALLEY – This summer, brothers 7-year-old Zac and 5-year-old Sy will both be celebrating birthdays, and instead of asking for the latest toy or a big party, they’re asking for food drive donations. These little boys are celebrating their birthdays by holding a food drive for the Foothills Food Bank, and they’ll be collecting donations at Ironhorse Apartments in Tramonto and Bela Rosa Apartment Homes in Anthem, from now through August.

Heather DoCanto, Zac and Sy’s mom, said both the boys enjoy helping others.

“They really love doing it! They have big hearts,” she said of her sons.

This isn’t the first of the boys’ efforts to make the world a better place. They’ve also done supply drives for children in foster care, as well as other food drives.

“Last year, they did a backpack drive,” Heather said, noting that they decided to “start a new tradition” of doing good works for their birthdays. “Every year, we do a drive and donate to something we’re passionate about.”

The backpack drive resulted in over 100 backpacks for children in foster care. Through financial donations, the family raised $365, then went on a backpack shopping spree, picking out backpacks for kids in need.

“He [Zac] filled up a whole shopping cart,” Heather said. “He was so proud of himself.”

“I got, like, over 100!” Zac said of the backpacks. Zac says he likes helping people, and both boys are excited about this year’s food drive.

The idea for these good deeds came about when the boys’ parents faced a common parenting issue: a birthday party, tons of presents, and less appreciation for the gifts than the parents were hoping to see. Feeling that some changes needed to be made, they started working on minimization, “more about quality and less about quantity,” Heather said. This helped the boys to become more grateful for the things they have, and the whole family is finding new ways to help others, including this summer’s food drive.

Heather noted that the food drive has been going on for about two weeks, and already the response from the community has been great.

“Today [June 8], we’re delivering 60 items to the food bank,” Heather said, adding that there were more items at their home to be delivered, too.

The boys have a goal of collecting and delivering 1,000 items to the Foothills Food Bank by the end of the food drive. By last weekend, already 68 pounds of food had been collected and donated.

The food bank can use all kinds of non-perishable food; some items that are always especially needed are peanut butter, jelly, pasta, pasta sauce, and canned soup. Diapers and toiletries are also greatly needed.

In addition to the collection boxes at Ironhorse and Bela Rosa, the family has set up a GoFundMe page,, for monetary donations, which Heather says will either go towards the purchase of food to donate to the food bank or directly to the food bank as a cash donation, whichever donors specify.

Sy, who is turning 6 this summer, is excited about the prospect of shopping for donations, and says he wants to buy “a lot of healthy food!” to donate.

Heather says she hopes when the boys get older, they’ll carry on this tradition of doing good through their own families. The boys are definitely enthusiastic about helping others through this birthday food drive.

“I think every year, my birthday, I should do like a food drive and donate stuff to the food bank or to the foster care,” Zac said.

When asked about his favorite part of collecting donations, Sy responded, “Everything makes me happy about the food drive!”

Zac shared his excitement for delivering the items to the food bank.

“It makes me feel happy!” he said.