La Mesa student raises money to help struggling families

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SAN DIEGO — 13 year-old Brayden Pape from La Mesa enjoys playing with his dog, video games and helping others in need.

“It’s hard to think that people with no income during this pandemic — they have no food,” said Pape, an eighth-grader at Albert Einstein Charter Middle School.

La Mesa, Calif. resident Brayden Pape.

When stay-at-home orders took effect in March due to COVID-19, the school started weekend food drives, handing out hundreds of meal kits to struggling student families. Pape immediately went to work, going to stores and asking for donations.

“Need gift cards, money, food donations just to help out — we need non-perishable food items,” he said.

Pape’s parents were there helping him along the way. He said they drove him to roughly 40 different stores in San Diego to collect money. From that effort, they raised $5,000 in less than two weeks.

Then Baskin-Robbins, the ice cream and specialty cake chain, heard about his efforts and met them with a matching $5,000 donation. Pape also was included in the company’s Pint-Sized Heroes program, which earned him a year of free ice cream.

“For a year,” he said. “I mean, I am obsessed with ice cream – I love ice cream.”

But what Brayden loves even more is his hard work paying off.

“Actually felt real proud of myself because it shows I can, anyone – including a kid – can do anything,” he said.

More information including how to donate to the ongoing fundraiser is available online here.

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