A kind eighth-grader is making sure that all of his classmates, especially those from low-income households, have enough new clothes to wear to school every day.
13-year-old Chase Neyland-Square, a student at Port Allen Middle School in Louisiana, created PAM’s Pantry; a closet at his school where other students, parents, and businesses can donate clothing and schools supplies to be picked up anonymously by children in need.
“I wanted to make a difference in the school because I wanted everybody to feel equal,” Chase said. “Sometimes kids have less confidence in the classroom because of their apparel or what they have on.”
Likeminded individuals who are just as supportive and caring as Chase have rallied to his cause. The students at Port Allen Middle School came together to help bring Chase’s idea to life and have all contributed generously to ensure that low-income students have enough quality clothing and supplies to feel just as good as everyone else. Several sponsors have also made large contributions to their compassionate cause. Located just behind the middle school’s stage, the pantry offers students shirts, pants, dresses, graduation uniforms, pencils, markers, binders, shoes and even football cleats.
Chase feels compassion and empathy for those without, and he wants to do something to help them:
“I know that everybody doesn’t have things and I’m fortunate to have things that other people don’t have,” Chase said. “I look at it as sometimes, how would I feel in this situation?”
Chase’s Mom, Amanda Square, told Good Morning America that her son has a very giving heart. Before setting up the pantry, Chase also hosted dinners for lonely senior citizens, and he once gathered and donated 700 pairs of socks for the homeless.
“He seems to have a great passion for people,” Amanda said. “It makes me proud because we’re very blessed and I always encourage him to bless others.”
The idea for PAM’s Pantry came to Chase and his fellow students while they were participating in a summer program called SPARK, which stands for Student Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge. Principal Jessica Major explained that the program was started three years ago with the intention to foster and empower young leaders by giving them the ability to make improvements in their community as they saw fit.
Unknown to Principal Jessica Major at the time, this kind summer program would be a partial saving grace of a family at her school. Soon after SPARK’s beginning, a student’s family lost their home in a tragic house fire; rendering them homeless and without any clothes to wear. The pantry was able to donate enough quality clothing and supplies to keep the children well-clothed and able to attend school.
“They had a family, a Port Allen family who suffered from a fire, so they came in and got a whole new closet full of clothes,” Chase said.
The students have also come up with encouraging projects such as free lunches to celebrate good grades, introducing interesting new library books and adding extra lighting to the hallways to make them brighter and more pleasant.
“My favorite part about helping with the pantry is getting types of clothes and sorting them out to give to various people.” Chase said. “It makes me feel good because I know that I can make a difference in my school.”
“I’m going to continue working on PAM’s Pantry. I’m hoping one day I could turn it into a non-profit organization.”
Chase’s kind heart is making a real difference in the lives of his fellow students, and he’s inspiring everyone along the way. Chase says that his heart is “for giving.”
You are Loved.