Old Per­li­can boy helps food bank on Hal­loween

Type 1 di­a­betes di­ag­no­sis makes candy a no-no for Rea­gan Hop­kins

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Rea­gan Hop­kins knew he wasn’t go­ing to trick or treat for candy this year af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with Type 1 di­a­betes. For­tu­nately, the 11-year-old from Old Per­li­can came up with an al­ter­na­tive plan to dress up and have some fun, while also help­ing oth­ers.

OLD PER­LI­CAN, NL — A scary skele­ton roamed the streets of Old Per­li­can last Tues­day night, knock­ing on doors de­mand­ing cans of food from those who an­swered.

Truth­fully, the in­ten­tions of the boy wear­ing this skele­ton cos­tume on Hal­loween were far from sin­is­ter. Rea­gan Smith was do­ing a good deed, spend­ing the night col­lect­ing non­per­ish­able food items he later do­nated to a food bank in Lower Is­land Cove.

An 11-year-old Grade 6 stu­dent at Tri­con Ele­men­tary, Hop­kins was di­ag­nosed a few months ago with Type 1 di­a­betes. Know­ing he would not be able to trick or treat like he did in years past, a new idea struck him one day dur­ing math class.

“Well, my friends were ask­ing me since I was a di­a­betic, they asked me what I was go­ing to do with the food,” Rea­gan ex­plained to the Com­pass. “I was jok­ing with them that I was go­ing to bring (the candy) to them.”

He then re­called a food drive his Grade 5 class did last year with the help of teacher Cather­ine Hicks. Hav­ing also watched TV re­ports about food banks run­ning low on food, Rea­gan de­cided col­lect­ing do­na­tions on Hal­loween might help out.

Word got around the com­mu­nity in ad­vance of Oct. 31, and on Hal­loween Rea­gan went door-to-door in Old Per­li­can with his mother Yvonne tag­ging along in a ve­hi­cle to trans­port the goods. They were out for over three hours.

“And my friends were very sup­port­ive, and my com­mu­nity was re­ally sup­port­ive too,” said Rea­gan, who man­aged to col­lect enough food to just about fill two shop­ping carts.

“A lot of peo­ple were say­ing, ‘That’s such a good thing you’re do­ing,’ and they were hug­ging me,” he added with a lit­tle chuckle.

Last Thurs­day, Rea­gan brought the do­nated goods to the His Hand Ex­tended Food Bank in Lower Is­land Cove, which is ad­min­is­tered by the lo­cal Sal­va­tion Army Corps and serves an area stretch­ing from Kingston to Bay de Verde. Ac­cord­ing to Lt. Keith Bar­rett, the food bank as­sists 15-20 fam­i­lies monthly.

“A lot of peo­ple find them­selves in need this time of year,” Keith told the Com­pass. “It dou­bles at Christ­mas, and we’re quickly ad­vanc­ing to that sea­son, so … re­ceiv­ing a call from Rea­gan say­ing he was will­ing to do­nate the goods that he col­lected to the Sal­va­tion Army food bank here in Lower Is­land Cove means a great deal to this shore. We ap­pre­ci­ate it.”

At this food bank, there’s a con­sis­tent need for pasta sauce and pasta (a combo that cre­ates an in­stant meal), soup and ce­real. Rea­gan’s food drive man­aged to cover all those items, along with juice.

And my friends were very sup­port­ive and my com­mu­nity was re­ally sup­port­ive too. — Rea­gan Hop­kins

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Lt. Char­lene Bar­rett, left, of the Lower Is­land Cove Sal­va­tion Army Corps fol­lows Rea­gan Hop­kins with a load of non­per­ish­able food items the 11-year-old boy col­lected on Hal­loween.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

From left, Philip Bar­rett, Rea­gan Hop­kins, Lt. Char­lene Bar­rett and Lt. Keith Bar­rett with the food Rea­gan col­lected go­ing door-to-door in Old Per­li­can this Hal­loween.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Rea­gan Hop­kins chose to dress as a skele­ton for Hal­loween this year.

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