By Wendell Hutson, DNAinfo Chicago Reporter/Producer
CHICAGO — Unlike most children his age, Samuel Love is not spending too much time thinking about the gifts he might get for Christmas.
Instead, the 9-year-old Chicago native is busy organizing a local toy drive to benefit New York children affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“Christmas is a time of giving and sharing," the third-grader said.
"Not many kids my age think about that, but I do, and that’s why I want to make sure kids in New York have a good Christmas."
The elementary student who lives on Chicago's South Side said he thought of holding a toy drive after watching footage of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy on TV.
“That’s when I started thinking about how those kids might not get any gifts this year because their parents can’t afford it,” he said.
He is asking the public to drop off new, unwrapped toys all this week at his school or at a soul-food restaurant owned by his grandmother Josephine Wade.
On Saturday, Samuel is hosting a Christmas party at the eatery, Josephine’s Cooking, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a $10 donation required to get in the door, but “if you bring a toy admission, is free,” he said.
He has set a goal of collecting 3,000 toys to distribute to needy kids in New York.
Those who attend the Christmas party will be treated to a free buffet lunch, and there will be a Santa Claus on hand to take photos with children for $10. All money raised will be used to purchase new toys, which will be shipped to either a military base or a children’s charity in New York for distribution, according to Samuel’s father, Victor Love.
“I am so proud of my son for the sacrifice he is making for those who are less fortunate,” the boy's dad said. “This is his first time organizing a fundraiser and with God’s help I know it will turn out well.”
Samuel, who is also volunteering to help feed his city's homeless population on Christmas day, said he gets a lot of his giving ways from his father.
“My dad has encouraged me to step up and do more to help people," he said.
“I really hope my actions lead to more people, not just kids, taking time to help people in times of need.
“People would say I am a good kid. But I say I am a kid who likes to do good things for others."