Every year, Spencer Jonas sets out to top his previous year’s birthday food drive.
This year he hoped for 2,000 pounds — an even ton of much-appreciated items for the Good Cheer Food Bank that serves about 850 households around South Whidbey.
That would have topped the 1,752 pounds that tipped the scales last year.
Instead, it added up to more than four tons, 9,129 pounds to be exact.
A round of whooping cheers and applause erupted when the final tally was read Thursday afternoon to a legion of kids and adults who’ve become fans of Spencer’s Food Drive, as it’s known on his Facebook page for charitable causes.
“I did it for the first time when I turned 4,” said the 12 year old who is schooled at home. “Instead of presents, I asked friends to bring food to my party for Good Cheer. I raised 40 pounds.”
Seeing the stacks of towering packages and boxes packed into a moving truck, Good Cheer volunteers estimated “Birthday Spencer,” as he’s called by the appreciative staff, that maybe he’d doubled his goal of one ton this time around.
They were a tad off but pleasantly surprised.
“Last year, we weighed it all at once on one scale and it was a leaning tower of food,” Good Cheer manager Karen Korbelik said. “I’m glad we didn’t decide to do that this year.”
George Henny, Whidbey Telecom company president, presented Jonas with a trailer full of food collected by his employees. It weighed in at 904 pounds.
“They were inspired by his efforts,” Henny said. “They wanted to help him outdo himself. He’s just a remarkable citizen of this community.”
Jonas also received cash donations, which he used to buy $250 in organic produce and more than $600 in a selected variety of fresh meats, including $250 of fresh whole chickens at a specially negotiated price, said his mother, Lynda Jonas.
Being able to shop for food adds another dimension to Spencer’s annual lesson in charity, community and giving back, she said.
“We get to think about and strategize on how to get fresh, not expired or nearly expired, and super healthy foods to the food bank families,” Lynda Jonas said. “It’s a piece he, and I, really value about his results.”