CHICAGO — After hearing about a third-grader from the South Side who launched a citywide toy drive on Monday to help New York kids affected by Hurricane Sandy, toymaker LeapFrog announced it would donate $3,000 worth of toys to his cause.
"I had no idea my efforts would attract so much attention. All I wanted to do was help the kids in New York who are less fortunate than me," said 9-year old Samuel Love, who attends Beasley Elementary School, 5255 S. State St. "And now I am getting help from all over, and it feels good."
Samuel traveled to New York Thursday with his dad, Victor Love, to appear on FOX Television's "Anderson Live" Show, and that is when he found out about the donation from LeapFrog.
Anderson Cooper reached out to the family after reading about Samuel's project on DNAinfo.com, Victor Love said.
"He came up with this idea all by himself, and ever since the day he wrote a letter to his principal, the school has rallied behind him," said Love, a single father of four. “I am so proud of my son for the sacrifice he is making for those who are less fortunate. This is his first time organizing a fundraiser, and with God’s help I know it will turn out well.”
“That’s when I started thinking about how those kids might not get any gifts this year because their parents can’t afford it,” Samuel said.
The LeapFrog donation, plus the few hundred toys collected so far, have put Samuel closer to his goal of collecting 3,000 toys, his father said.
"We expect to reach that goal by Saturday at the Christmas party," Love said. "Moneywise, we have collected a few hundred dollars from friends and family."
Samuel said he gets his generous nature from his father and from attending worship service at Salem Baptist Church in Pullman.
“My dad has encouraged me to step up and do more to help people. I am volunteering at my church this year to feed the homeless on Christmas Day,” Samuel said.
The Loves have partnered with the Salvation Army in New York to distribute the toys to needy kids, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago to assist in getting the toys shipped off.
The Loves will host a Christmas party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Josephine's Cooking, 436 E. 79th St. Admission is free for those who donate a new toy and $10 for those who don't. A free buffet will be available.