Local Girl Has a Dream to Aid the Hungry

Cassandra Hsiao, a 12-year-old Walnut girl, and some of her Facebook friends plan to go door-to-door in local communities to collect food for orphan children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

By Melanie C. Johnson

Cassandra Hsiao hopes to collect food for children in need with a little help from the community.

The 12-year-old and a group of her Facebook friends went around her Walnut neighborhood last Saturday asking for donations for Haiti orphans.  The group collected 89 cans of food in two hours, she said.

The group plans to do the same this weekend and weekly until December, she said.

The food donated will go to Operation DREAM, an organization with a mission to feed poor, orphan children in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  The charity’s goal is to raise 10,000 pounds of food by Dec. 31, Cassandra said.

The seventh grader said she got involved in collecting food for Operation DREAM last year, going door-to-door to ask for canned goods, dried beans and rice.   She said she was moved by the family of four who started the organization after a trip to the Dominican Republic in 2009.

“When some houses didn’t open the door, I learned patience, perseverance, and endurance; when some people were not that friendly, I learned how to forgive,” Cassandra said of her experience last year. “Yet most of the people I met were gentle, generous, enthusiastic, and ready to give to the hungry and needy children. I also learned to be grateful for what I have, for orphanages in Haiti and the Dominican Republic have to worry whether they will get a next meal.”

This year, Cassandra plans to do the same, but on a larger scale, she said. She and her friends plan to go around neighborhoods in Walnut, Diamond Bar, San Dimas, West Covina, and Rowland Heights to ask for donations for canned food every Saturday.

“I have a vision to create a community where good character is encouraged and rewarded, and Operation DREAM is the perfect opportunity for me and my friends to develop character through helping people a world away,” she said. “I would also like to encourage our community to get involved in the life of others by giving a helping hand to those in need.”

Students looking to seeking ways to complete school-required community service hours can do so by collecting their own boxes with needed items such as canned meat, chicken, and fish, as well as peanut butter, oatmeal, pasta, rice, and beans, she said. The aim is to prepare 24-by-17-by-15 boxes. 

The boxes are shipped to the Dominican Republic and Haiti with the rest of the Operation DREAM hunger relief shipment.

Anyone in the community wishing to donate food items can contact Cassandra by email at gracegan@hotmail.com.


First Published @ Walnut Patch



About Cassandra Hsiao

Cassandra Hsiao is a senior at OCSA (Orange County School of the Arts). Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and National Student Poets Program. She has been chosen as finalists of playwriting competitions held by California Young Playwrights, The Blank Theatre, Writopia Labs, and Princeton University. Her poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in TeenReads, Jet Fuel Review, Feminine Inquiry, Aerie International and more. She also conducts print and on-camera interviews as a Star Reporter and Film Critic for multiple online outlets. She won a National Gracie Award in Student Online Video Host Category by The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation . https://twitter.com/Cassandra_Hsiao

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Giving Back to the Community and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’m praying you accomplish your goals, Cassie… best of luck to you!

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