ANNA - The coronavirus outbreak has overshadowed many other things going on in the community.
Among those is the story of Harlow Elementary School fifth grader Roman Rushing.
The 11-year-old turned his own birthday into an initiative to help others.
In February, the food drive he spearheaded pulled in a whopping 2,200 donations.
This is the second year that Roman has worked to bring food to others.
Last year, when his parents asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he said that he wanted to start a food drive.
He admits that this was not what they were expecting.
"I just saw people walking around my school not having enough food and I felt bad for them," Roman said.
Roman got started last year by posting on social media, telling the community what items he was looking for.
His family put a large plastic bin on their front porch where neighbors could donate. They ended up collecting 723 items for a local food pantry.
This year, Roman and his mother, Melanie Rushing, purchased paper bags and stapled lists of items to them.
The Rushing family then canvassed their neighborhood passing out the bags.
Roman also got teammates from his select league baseball team involved as well as people at Grace Point Church, where he attends services.
The preteen’s initial goal was to fill 50 bags. He ended up with more than triple that amount.
"Roman has never been the type to go out and try to get praise," his father, David Rushing, said. "We’re glad that he was able to help the community. The help with Grace Point was really key to us being as successful as we were with it."
In addition to baseball, Roman enjoys playing basketball, football, being outdoors and having fun with his sister. At school, he is a member of both the student council and the PAW Patrol, an organization that helps other students.
David Rushing said the he and his wife have tried to raise Roman with a servant heart. They want him to understand that there are always people in need of help and have encouraged him to be a leader in everything that he does.
Despite this, they were both surprised when Roman said a food drive was what he wanted to do for his birthday. The idea was his alone.
"He’s such a sweet kid and he’s got a sweet heart," David Rushing said. "There’s a lot of things that we don’t even really have to instill in him. He just has it in his heart."