While there are age restrictions that prohibit America’s youth from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle or stepping into a voting booth at an age deemed too young for such actions, nowhere is it written that one must be of a certain age in order to help someone in need.
Caleb Sefcik, a second-grader at Scioto Ridge Elementary School in Powell, caught the service bug at the tender of 6 after asking his mother, Laura, a question that might catch most parents of youngsters off guard.
As Mrs. Sefcik recalled, it was a random Friday evening a few years back when Caleb asked, “Mommy, what do people do that don’t have a house like ours to live in?”
Her response wasn’t sugarcoated: “I explained to him about giving to people who don’t have enough and aren’t able to have jobs because of their own issues and challenges. I told him about donating to local agencies…and he jumped right on to the idea.”
That following Saturday morning, Caleb kicked off what has become his annual Hot Chocolate and Bakery Fundraiser. Held the first Saturday in December inside the garage of the Sefcik’s Powell home, Caleb has raised $1,583 over the past three years for People In Need (PIN), Inc. of Delaware County, a private, not-for-profit social services agency.
What started out as a small fundraiser — neighbors and friends of the family helped Caleb raise $75 the first year — quickly grew to Caleb raising $440 the second year. This year, people who stopped by for hot chocolate and baked goods on Dec. 2 donated $1,028.
“People we don’t even know make the baked goods and donate it to the activity, so it’s a complete community activity with everybody getting involved,” Mrs. Sefcik said.
She added along with her husband, Sean, the couple is “bursting with pride” as their son’s idea has helped PIN assist countless county residents in need.
“Service is just so important to us,” she said. “It’s probably one of the highest principles and values in our family.”
Mr. Sefcik added, “Seeing him just take this up on his own means the world to us.”
Honoring a good deed
During a ceremony held on Dec. 28 in the City of Powell Municipal Building, Mayor Brian Lorenz presented Caleb with a proclamation in recognition of “his leadership, his kindness, and his selflessness.”
Lorenz said, “By the power vested in me by the City of Powell, I do hereby declare the first Saturday of the month in December within our vibrant city to be known as Caleb’s Annual Hot Chocolate and Bakery Fundraiser Month.”
While Caleb accepted the proclamation with a huge smile and a handshake from the mayor, he left the talking up to the woman who knows him best.
“Caleb is very stoic and modest about all of his successes,” Mrs. Sefcik said. “He knows what this means and is looking forward to hanging it in his room.”
Caleb didn’t need to take time to toot his own horn as Jim Lewis, a PIN board member, did it for him.
“This young man’s efforts nearly leave me speechless,” Lewis said. “He’s brought awareness to the needs of our community and to People In Need, Inc. and its mission.”
Lewis said the money Caleb raised this year alone will provide approximately 500 meals to the 16,000 food-insecure people living in the county or help to keep four or five families from ending up out on the streets.
“It’s an incredible achievement,” he said. “I think we may have a future board member in Caleb.”