— written by Club Fit Member and Guest Blogger Lisa Skelton
Junior Club Fit member Jack Normoyle forgoes birthday gifts to collect donations for local food pantry.
Ask any kid what their favorite thing about birthdays is, and the answer will invariably be, “Presents!” Number two on the list is probably parties. Nine-year-old Club Fit Jefferson Valley member Jack Normoyle decided to change things up, skipping the presents and using his party as a vehicle to help the needy.
Jack, who will be going into the fourth grade at Lincoln-Titus Elementary School, held his Minecraft-themed birthday party at the club in May, opting for the Surf & Turf package for his friends. But instead of sitting back and collecting presents from the partygoers, he asked them to bring a nonperishable food donation for the Church of the Holy Spirit Food Pantry in Cortlandt Manor, part of the Food Bank of Westchester. And this isn’t the first time he’s done this. He did the same at his 7th birthday party.
“Jack saw a Facebook post from one of my friends mentioning the idea, and decided he wanted to help people out by doing the same,” says Jack’s mom, Suzanne. “The work that the food pantry does makes a difference in our community, and Jack has seen for himself that what he is doing matters.” The Holy Spirit Food Pantry services approximately 160 families, helping to feed about 600 people.
“I was surprised to see how much food people brought!” says Jack. “It made me happy to help out the people who really needed it.” Suzanne and Jack delivered the food a few days later, and the staff was understandably appreciative, as well as impressed by Jack’s generosity. “The ladies at the pantry definitely make a fuss over Jack!” says Suzanne. As they should!
The Normoyle family, residents of Cortlandt Manor, joined Club Fit just this past March, but have quickly become regulars. Suzanne comes to the club about three days a week, and is working with a Personal Trainer to get her fitness routine back on track. She uses the Fitness Center and Women’s Fitness Area, and husband John is working on getting more time in around his work schedule.
Jack is definitely getting his time in, doing the Junior Cycle kids’ cycle class on Mondays, and the Yoga for Kids class on Wednesdays. “It used to be all girls, but more boys are doing it now,” he says. He also enjoys the Energy Center, where he’s made some new friends, and is looking forward to attending Energy Camp this summer. “I don’t really have a favorite thing, I just like that there are a lot of different things to do here,” he says. He also enjoys basketball, soccer and karate.
We could all take a lesson from this fourth-grader, whose willingness to help is benefitting so many of the neighbors we often forget about. Hopefully other young people in our community will get wind of Jack’s act of kindness and follow his lead! For more information on the programs run by the Food Bank of Westchester and how to contribute, visit www.foodbankforwestchester.org. And if you run into Jack, give him a well-deserved pat on the back!