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This article was published 23/11/2015 (1480 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In his third year at the helm of his baby formula drive, 12-year-old Atticus McIlraith is stepping things up a notch.
The Grade 7 student from Acadia Junior High has expanded the Atticus McIlraith Baby Formula Drive to include a number of community partners and has set a lofty goal of raising $15,000 worth of formula.
Last year, Atticus raised $10,000 worth of baby formula for Winnipeg Harvest during the Hunger for Hope campaign. During that time he caught the attention of a number of community organizations wanting to help his cause.
To date, the Université de Saint-Boniface social work department, École Dieppe School, and the St. James-Assiniboia School Division administration office have all pledged to collect formula on behalf of Atticus. Others have even gone as far as sacrificing their birthday presents in lieu of baby formula, Atticus says.
"It makes me feel happy because you know someone cares," Atticus said. "There is no feeling greater than the feeling you get when you give."
Atticus began the drive to support Winnipeg Harvest two years ago when he heard a call for help over the radio. The young philanthropist felt an urgent need to act and decided a formula drive would be a good first step.
"I’ve learned that it’s not enough for feel sorry for something, to feel sympathetic or empathetic," Atticus explained. "You can feel that, but there’s only one really good way to get rid of (the feelings) — to do something about it."
Others have taken his words of advice, and now Atticus is joined by a committee that has helped expand his reach and raise more formula.
"It was necessary because me and mom can’t do it on our own," Atticus said. "I have school and my mom’s already got her hands full with plenty of things."
Social media has also played a huge role in Atticus’s campaign, landing him partnerships with the Norwood Community Centre, which will collect formula at its annual Breakfast with Santa, and Grant Park Shopping Centre will offer a special promotion for shoppers who support the drive.
A tweet sent out by Atticus secured him a tabling spot in the mall on Black & White Thursday on Nov. 26. The first 100 people to donate will receive a tote bag.
Atticus’s mom Sharon McIlraith says she was touched by the enthusiasm.
"He’s always surprised and happy when people believe in what he does," she said. "To partner with a 12-year-old, as a mall, to me that shows Winnipeg’s heart."
Atticus will be accepting donations of formula or cash during December. Donations of $20 or more are eligible for tax receipts. He is also accepting valid coupons for formula and samples.