When Kaden Newton was 4, he came home from preschool and told his mom he wanted to start a company to help feed the poor.
At first, his parents brushed him off, but Kaden was persistent.
Kaden’s mom Diana told LittleThings: “At the time, our children were approximately 4, 3, and 1 years old… and we were just trying to make it through those tough toddler years. So, we appeased his request by pulling some food out of our own kitchen and taking him down to the local food pantry to donate it.
We assumed we would be done. However, Kaden with his BIG heart loved how donating food made him feel… and he asked to go back.”
It was clear to Kaden’s parents that he was no ordinary child: his passion for helping others was never appeased, and he still wants to do more to help.
“So for the next two to three years, we donated food on a regular basis,” Diana explained. “During that time, Kaden had moved beyond just dropping off food and had asked if he could go inside the food pantry and tour it.”
As Kaden got more and more involved with the food pantry, he realized there was a big problem: they had no “kids’ food.”
When Kaden told his parents that he wanted to help people in need, they brought him down to the food pantry to help out.
There, 7-year-old Kaden found his passion: feeding hungry families.
“He was very aware of the families sitting in the waiting room waiting on their food and specifically would inquire to me about the young children there,” his mom, Diana, explained.
“He also was very aware that many of the food items were not items that those kids could look forward to.”
“Many areas of the shelves sat empty and desperately needed donations in order to get the particular food to the people in need,” she told LittleThings.
“He grew to have a special place in his heart to take care of those young kids that he had seen waiting on their next meals.”
In November 2016, Kaden decided he was ready to run a food drive of his own.
He wanted to make sure that food pantries were well-stocked with kid-friendly foods.
It was fitting, then, that he named his charity “Mac & Cheese and Pancakes.”
His website says that they’re “providing kid-friendly & kid-approved food to food pantries.”
His parents were fully supportive of his idea: They encouraged him to reach out to adults he knew to get the ball rolling.
“He personally asked school administrative staff, extracurricular activity instructors, family, friends, church leaders, and more for their assistance in his company,” Diana said.
They officially launched the project on November 2, 2016, at 9 p.m. via social media. It was an immediate success.
His mom explains:
Within one week of officially launching “Mac & Cheese and Pancakes,” Kaden had received over 5,000 items from all over the country.
Local newspapers and TV media picked up his story and helped further the story going viral.
Before the end of week two, Kaden had achieved 10,000 items.
His initial goal for “Mac & Cheese and Pancakes” was about 5,000 items of which 1,000 he hoped could come from the Amazon Wishlist.
As of February 22, the total tally was in excess of 11,000 items…
We have asked Kaden numerous times if his work is done now that he has achieved his goal, and the answer is a consistent “no.”
Kaden has decided to continue work on “Mac & Cheese and Pancakes” and bring food to as many families as possible.