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East School Gets Special ‘Birthday Gift’

10-year-old South Salem boy delivers school supplies to city school.

Jack O’Reilly of South Salem, N.Y. (back row, right) made a two-hour trek to East School in Long Beach, N.Y. to deliver school supplies that he requested from friends in lieu of a birthday party.
Jack O’Reilly of South Salem, N.Y. (back row, right) made a two-hour trek to East School in Long Beach, N.Y. to deliver school supplies that he requested from friends in lieu of a birthday party.
Story and Photo by Rosemary Leonetti.

When fourth-grader Jack O’Reilly of South Salem, N.Y. viewed TV footage of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused in Long Beach, N.Y., he was moved to do something very few 10-year-olds would do.

In lieu of presents at his 10th birthday party, Jack asked all his schoolmates at Meadow Pond Elementary School in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District to bring in school supplies for students in Long Beach Public Schools. The response from Jack’s school was impressive.

With the help of his friends, he was able to collect dozens of boxes filled with backpacks, notebooks, glue sticks, pens, pencils and other supplies, which he and his family personally delivered to East Elementary School in Long Beach.

He was greeted by East School Principal Sean Murray, teacher-in-charge Sharon Weiss and fourth-graders Timothy Hardy and Kevin Lopez, who thanked him for his generosity.

In return for his kindness, Jack asked one simple thing of his peers at East School. “In the future,” he said, “when you see another school that needs help, please remember to ‘pay it forward.’”

Timothy replied that he already had a plan in the works to donate holiday presents to local kids in need — a statement that put a smile on young Jack’s face as he saw the seeds of kindness spreading even faster than he had expected.

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