SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Our Lady of Sorrows School in South Orange named seventh-grader Parker Hamilton as its Volunteer of the Month for September.
Last year Parker collected and donated $550 to the food pantry at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Kate Cahill from the OLS Food Pantry told him that the pantry would use the money to buy shelf-stable milk, as it is an item they rarely receive, due to cost.
This past summer, Parker’s grandmother died and he decided to collect shelf-stable milk to donate to the food pantry in her honor, as she was a regular volunteer at soup kitchens and cooked food to feed the homeless in Newark. Parker’s mother, Patricia Hamilton, said it was her son’s way of coping with the loss. His initial goal was to collect 50 boxes, but he got 92. Without hesitation, he bought the additional eight with his own allowance money to make his donation an even 100 boxes of shelf-stable milk.
“He just likes to volunteer and help people that have food insecurities,” Patricia Hamilton said.
Additionally, Parker volunteered at the South Orange Public Library this summer. And he donated four boxes of books to the children who ate breakfast and lunch at the food program run by Maplewood this summer at Maplecrest Park.
Patricia Hamilton said she knows Parker’s grandmother “is up there smiling down at him,” adding that Parker’s “grandmother was always talking to the grandkids about the importance of being of service and giving back to those in need, and we’re so happy that he’s taken her advice.”