Dylan Quesada standing behind about 450 jars of peanut butter.

By Jasmine Haroun

Two kids are making a difference in their community this summer with innovative ideas and fundraisers to help local charities.

After reading a book about someone who did a service project, Dylan Quesada, age 11, decided he also wanted to help his community. Being already familiar with the Seeds of Hope organization, Quesada wrote a letter to the organizers asking what he could do to help.

They wrote back suggesting that he collect jars of peanut butter. They gave him a goal of 600 jars as that is how many backpacks they fill for students weekly. In the time frame of two months, Quesada had collected 677 jars of peanut butter and brought them to a Seeds of Hope event that was held on August 1.

The peanut butter was for the Seeds of Hope’s backpack program. At the event, Quesada gave 250 jars to families who signed up through the Seeds of Hope Food Bank for school supplies. The rest of the jars went to students in the Seeds of Hope Backpack Program that take home food every week.

“I feel proud of the community that I live in for the fact that everyone was willing to donate to help my fundraiser. I also feel sympathetic because I got to see that kids my age and younger need help in many ways, not just the small problems like misplacing something that us more fortunate people experience,” said Quesada.

Similar to Quesada, Delanie Dennis, age 7, also read a book that piqued her interest in helping her community. The book, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, is about a girl who set up a lemonade stand to help children with cancer.

Delanie Dennis sitting behind her very own lemonade stand.

After reading this story, Dennis immediately asked if she could also start a lemonade stand but instead to help animals. She came up with the idea to put the stand in her parent’s cafe, Cafe Delanie, and even helped build the small stand that is now in place at the restaurant.

Through the end of July, Dennis raised a total of $3,388. Each week, a special menu is posted on their Facebook page that was specially crafted for just the lemonade stand. All of the sales from the items purchased from that menu then go to the charity of the month. She also sells silicone bracelets for two dollars each. On the first of the month, Delanie donates some of her own money to get the donations started.

Each month, the family will learn about local animal nonprofits and sanctuaries. Dennis then decides which one she wants to choose for the month. After she chooses, the family then reaches out to that nonprofit to get permission to utilize their images and logos and market them.

“I am excited knowing that some animals have been helped that may not have otherwise survived,” noted Dennis. “I also love seeing that raising money makes people at the rescue places smile.”

Seeds of Hope is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It provides weekly food distribution every Thursday from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at 710 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Brandon.

Backpacks of Hope is a food program is designed to help provide weekend food to school children who qualify for free school lunch.

And the Mobile Food Pantry offers limited weekly food distribution. For more information, visit www.sohopefl.org.