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A Halloween for helping

Dressed as a werewolf and pulling a wagon, Tyler Deuell went trick or treating like other kids on Halloween.

Only he wasn't interested in candy.

The 7-year-old second-grader, touched by the tragedy of Sept. 11, instead set out to prove that compassion has no age limit.

Tyler asked people for canned goods, dry goods, anything they could offer to help those less fortunate.

He turned over his night's work _ a wagon full of food _ to the Pasco Food Bank on Wednesday.

Ken Buck, the food bank's executive director, said Tyler's contribution provided enough food for 47 meals.

"It's a super thing he did," he said. "I give him a lot of credit for thinking about other people in the community who are in need."

Buck said the boy's donation came at the perfect time. He said that since Sept. 11, requests for help to social service agencies have increased, while donations have decreased.

Tyler helped change that, at least in this small area of central Pasco County, Buck said.

"It's somewhat unbelievable that a young lad would decide to do something like this," he said. "Just think, one child doing things like this _ can you imagine if 100 kids did it?"

But just what made him do it?

"When I heard about the planes crashing and that people had lost their parents," Tyler said, "I decided to be good and do what is right for other people."

The act of selflessness has turned this blond-haired, freckled kid into a miniature celebrity.

WQYK 99.5 FM, a country radio station in Tampa, chose Tyler as its "Good Kid of the Week" and announced it on the air. He even got to play the tape for his class at Lake Myrtle Elementary School.

Standing proudly in the shadows while Tyler conducted his Halloween drive was his mother, Marci Deuell.

"He just came up and said he had thought of this. I hadn't mentioned it to him at all," Deuell said. "I thought it was fantastic. It was a great idea from such a young kid."

Tyler said he plans to collect food again next Halloween, and he said he might have similar projects near Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So what's it like without the normal flood of Halloween sugar around the house? It hasn't bothered Tyler, he said.

"I still have candy from last year."