7-year-old hosts food drive for UALR Trojan Food Pantry

Tavin Leggate holds a summer food drive.

With a goal to one day end world hunger and homelessness, 7-year-old Tavin Leggate hosted his third annual summer food drive and donated the proceeds to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Trojan Food Pantry. 

The idea to host a food drive on behalf of the food pantry came when Tavin learned of the organization’s status.

“Tavin was looking at Facebook with me when we came across the post saying the UALR food pantry was low and in need of donations,” said Shana Leggate, Tavin’s mom and a UALR student.

Already planning to do a food drive, Tavin asked his mom if he could donate what he collected to the Trojan Food Pantry. After receiving non-perishable items in his neighborhood and at his swim meet from July 8-10, Tavin was eager to hand over the proceeds.

“Tavin and his mom brought their donations to the Community Connection Center Oct. 7 and donated over $600 worth of food,” said Betsy Hart, assistant director of the Community Connection Center.

The donated items included canned vegetables, peanut butter, grape and strawberry jelly, canned meat, rice mixes, spaghetti, tomato sauce, chicken noodle and tomato soup, mixed fruits, and cereal.

Tavin and Shana Leggate
Tavin and Shana Leggate

“Their donation was huge, and we were beyond appreciative,” Hart said.

Tavin’s desire to help others began at the age of 4 after watching the devastation of the tornado victims in Mayflower, Arkansas, on the news with his mom.

“After watching the news, he asked what the families were going to do and where they were going to stay,” Leggate said. “I told him that there were shelters, and they could stay with family or in hotels. That night, he was in his closet pulling clothes saying, ‘these people don’t have clothes, so we need to help them and help them get food.’”

Tavin has now organized three neighborhood food drives and three coat and blanket drives, his most recent ending Nov. 18. He has also participated in his school’s Heroes-4-Hunger food drive.

Besides UALR, Tavin has donated his proceeds to the Rice Depot, The Van, and the Arkansas Foodbank.

“I was brought up in a way that when you see someone in need, you help however you can,” Leggate said. “I honestly never thought about doing food drives or trying to organize things like this. Tavin was just born with a kind heart.”

Thanks to Tavin’s generosity, he has previously been a finalist in Sprout’s Kindest Kid Contest and appeared on the Today Show.

“I want to fly to a far away place and ask everyone to do a neighborhood drive,” Tavin said. “If everyone in the world did it, that would definitely end homelessness.”

Although it’s a big task, Tavin plans to continue his summer food drives and winter coat and blanket drives until he reaches his goals of ending homelessness and world hunger.

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