10-Year-Old West Fargo Girl Collects Food Donations For Birthday

Instead of asking for birthday gifts, Gowri Pillai asks for nonperishable items to donate to the Great Plains Food Bank

WEST FARGO, N.D. — Most kids Gowri Pillai’s age get excited for their birthday.

But she gets excited for a different reason than most.

“My birthday’s around the time of giving, so we decided it was also a really good time for that,” she says.

Gowri turns 11 just two days before Christmas, but she’s not looking for any gifts.

Instead, she’s asking the community to help her make her Annual Food Drive a success.

“Because some people don’t have food, so we have this bucket for homeless people we have this food,” says Gowri’s 5-year-old brother Advaith Pillai.

It all began when she was just 5 years old and saw a homeless woman sitting on a bucket.

Gowri knew she had to do something.

“I asked my mom if we could keep her at our house to make her feel better. She said no.”

Instead, her mom suggested starting a food drive, and the rest is history.

“Gowri has shown through her perseverance that this is not just a one time thing. I mean, she does it every year and she sees the good it’s doing for our community, so I’m hoping that other students can see that kids can make a difference within our community as well,” says Independence Elementary School Principal Michael Shea.

Over the past 6 years, Gowri has raised more than 3,000 pounds of food for the Great Plains Food Bank.

This year, she’s hoping to collect 650 pounds of nonperishable items.

Donation bins can be found at Independence Elementary in West Fargo, the Academy for Children Montessori and CrossFit in Fargo.

“Oh my gosh, this is exactly what we want to do. We want to have a community-focused community, and so the way we do that is we start young and we start building that kind of community awareness and helping kids figure out what they can do to make a difference and make the world a better place, and that’s exactly what Gowri’s doing,” says CrossFit coach Norma Maxwell.

They say it’s never too early to start making a difference.

You can donate to Gowri’s Annual Food Drive at Independence Elementary through the rest of the week and at the Academy for Children Montessori and CrossFit in Fargo through the weekend.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News