12-year-old Zachary Rink has raised over $250 for homeless and struggling vets by selling hot chocolate. The 12-year-old entrepreneur stated his fundraising efforts in 2015 after completing a class project on WWII. A close family friend, who also happened to be a WWII veteran, passed away at approximately the same time. Zach commented on the impact these events had on him by telling reporters:
“We were learning about homeless veterans and I just thought it was really sad that veterans had to live on the streets like that, I went home that day and asked my Mom and Dad, ‘Can we make a hot chocolate stand?’”
His family was touched by his initiative and drive to give back to veterans and decided to pitch in themselves. Zach’s mother Vicki “stepped up their game” by suggesting they sell the comforting chocolate powder and marshmallow mix in reindeer shaped packages for the holiday season. The money started flowing in and Zach’s father contacted NHS Fresh Start, a veterans’ housing program located in Philadelphia and Coatesville, PA.
NHS Fresh Start was also impressed by this young man’s sense of civic duty. They invited him to join them for a breakfast and ceremony that is usually reserved for donors that have made contributions in excess of $1,000. NHS Fresh Start representatives told reporters they wanted Zach to see the change he was making in people’s lives first-hand to inspire him to continue this noble cause. The message was well received by Zach, who told reporters:
“They say it’s just really good, I feel like they are proud of me since I’ve been going through with this. At the breakfast they asked me if I was going to do this again and I said, ‘Oh yes, I’m going to do this again.’”