New London — When Hannah Hallisey stopped by the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center on Tuesday, she had in tow more than the 300 pounds of food she had collected to donate for the holiday season.
Standing next to the bounty of canned goods and nonperishable items, which together weighed nearly 10 times more than she did, the 6-year-old said she wanted to donate the food "to help the people who don't have food."
"It is just so wonderful that she is starting at such a young age to be aware of the need and to care for other people," Sara Chaney, product manager at the food center, said. "It's very special for someone her age to want to help others."
Over the last week and a half, Hannah collected the food from family members, friends and neighbors, her mother, Katie, said.
"She got about 40 bags of food in total," Katie Hallisey said. "She got 18 just (Monday) alone. They just kept coming."
Hannah, who lives in New London and is in first grade at St. Joseph School, is no stranger to the food center. After seeing televised appeals for assistance in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, she collected and donated 207 pounds of food to the center.
"She kept seeing commercials on TV and she said, 'I'm sad, I want to help,' so she decided she would collect food to donate," Katie Hallisey said. "And this year she said she wanted to do it again."