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Plainfield boy turns 8th birthday into canned good food drive

Plainfield boy turns 8th birthday into canned good food drive

Lindsay Doty

For his 8th birthday, cars cruised past Ben Helpingstine’s home in Plainfield as part of a drive-through celebration that included cheers, honks, and a display of handmade birthday posters.

In a time of social distancing, the drive-through party is a growing trend.

The 2nd grader at Cedar Elementary (Avon) kicked it up a notch by encouraging his guests to bring a canned good item for the Hendricks County Food Pantry Coalition.

8-year-old Ben Helpingstine stands outside his home in Plainfield to collect canned goods during his drive-through birthday celebration on April 26 (Photos submitted by Ashley Helpingstine)

“It made me happy to help people who are unable to buy food at this time,” said Ben Helpingstine about the April 26 charity effort.

His parents posted on social media to get the word out while Ben helped by making the signs to show drivers where to drop items in his driveway. The party was a hit.

“We were surprised by the way people came to donate and to celebrate,” explained Ashley Helpingstine, Ben’s mom.

“We had a sibling play ‘Happy Birthday’ on the saxophone, we had a mother dressed as the Fairy Godmother, we had a decorated car with balloons playing the song ‘Celebration.’”

Ben’s relatives, baseball buddies, classmates, and teacher all came out for the dual cause. The party collected 125 donated items.

The 8-year-old helped drop the donations at Bru Burger Bar Plainfield, a designated collection site. The donations are picked up by the Hendricks County Food Pantry Coalition that deliveries them to pantries throughout the county.

With his mask on, 8-year-old Ben Helpingstine helps deliver 125 canned good items to Bru Burger Bar Plainfield, a collection site for the Hendricks County Food Pantry Coalition

“It was great. They reached out to us and dropped off 125 items. There are several drop points in Plainfield,” explains Melinda Duckett, Hendricks County Food Coalition board member.

She worries about food insecurity with the economic impact of coronavirus. She says the community has stepped it up with food donations, including two truckloads picked up on May 2 from business collection sites in Plainfield and a major delivery of boxed donations from Kingsway Christian Church.

Ben’s family is happy to be a small part of a bigger ongoing effort.

Everyone has been impacted by the virus in one way or another, but what we felt and what Ben learned was that no matter how big or small we can help in our own way and there is always something to be thankful for,” said Ashley Helpingstine.

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