By Marie Gilmore
It doesn’t seem to matter how many achievements 15-year-old Zach Bonner has. The Valrico teenager can’t give up on his efforts to raise awareness, funds and food for homeless children. The teen started the efforts as a child himself by collecting water in his Little Red Wagon after Hurricane Charley in 2004. The effort was such a success that the young boy has walked across America and grown his effort into a full-blown foundation and has appeared on national television, in magazines and now, in a full-length feature film, Little Red Wagon. The movie, a story based on his life and efforts, is now available at Wal-mart stores and will be available in Red Box this summer.
In many of his red carpet appearances and travels, Bonner has had the opportunity to work with stars, corporations and big charities to make a difference. When asked how he came up with his most recent effort, which was to live entirely within a plexiglass box for a week to raise awareness and food, Bonner credits his good friend.
The box was located outside of Westfield Brandon in late March-early April and was entirely built and donated by Home Depot.
“The first few days, very few people knew what we were doing,” explained Bonner. “But once the news started covering us, the canned food and gift certificates started coming.” First, his friend from Wal-mart sent over about 2,000 cans, then, Sweetbay called and dropped of a $1,000 gift card for use as he saw fit or to supplement the food drive. Then, the families, individuals and children started coming.
By the end of the 6 days, more than 5,000 cans of food were collected.
Bonner and his mom are no strangers to good deeds. His mother, Laurie, has been there through thick and thin and even stayed overnight with Bonner at the mall location several times.
It didn’t matter that temperatures inside the 8 ft. plexi-box rose to over 90 degrees during the day or below 40 degrees at night.
“We are here to make a difference,” said Bonner, in between greeting families approaching the box.
In regards to the movie about his life, Bonner remains humble. Little Red Wagon was directed by David Anspaugh, who directed the films “Hoosiers” and “Rudy.” Patrick Sheane Duncan is the movie’s screenwriter and the John Templeton Foundation funded the film which was produced by Michael Guillen of Philanthropy Project, Barbara Kelly, and Steve Golin and David Kanter of Anonymous Content. For more information, connect with Bonner on Facebook, email Zachsredwagon @aol.com or phone at 495-1813.