When 9-year-old Makayla Curtin of Largo wrote a letter to Santa, she didn't ask for toys for herself. The fourth-grader at Curtis Fundamental School in Dunedin asked Santa to bring food to hungry families.
Her mother, Lisa, figuring St. Nick could use a hand, helped Makayla put together a one-week food drive. On Thursday, they delivered to the RCS Food Bank in Clearwater almost 800 pounds of food: 403 canned goods; 188 boxed goods; cases of apples, bananas, celery and carrots; 31 chickens; 36 ham steaks, and eight sausages.
The fresh meat was purchased with cash donations from Costco, Publix and a Tampa Bay Times reader who gave a single donation of $300 after reading Makayla's story in the Times Dec. 16. The fresh produce was donated by John's Produce of Clearwater.
Lisa Curtin said RCS told the family that Makayla's food drive will provide 639 meals for the hungry. In addition, the Curtins' friends and family made donations in Makayla's name to local nonprofits in Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Fort Lauderdale, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Oklahoma.
Said Makayla: "Amazing!"