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'My reason to smile': 10-year-old forgoes birthday party to organize food drive

Navika Khurana, a fifth grader at Irwin Academic Center, donated 180 pounds of food to Loaves and Fishes.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At Loaves and Fishes' warehouse, you'll find volunteers packing boxes of groceries to give to those in need. Last year, the Charlotte nonprofit provided groceries to over 120,000 people, well above 2019's number of 80,000. 

This year, 10-year-old Navika Khurana hopes her efforts can help those less fortunate. Instead of birthday presents, Navika organized a food drive at her school and in her neighborhood. 

"Instead of gifts, I asked for can foods to donate," she said. "Can fruits, can meat, can vegetables. Cereal and pasta have to be in a box and that's all."

Originally, she set out with a goal to donate 100 pounds to Loaves and Fishes. In just a few days, she collected 180 pounds of food. 

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"I was very happy because I want to contribute to donating food," she said. "I was able to collect so much food and then donate to the people in need."

Navika said she plans to host a food driver every year. She hopes to inspire others that they can be a positive change in their community. 

"I think every single can we donate helps a person," she said. "Like they say, if you can't feed 100 people, feed one person. It will make a big difference."

Navika said her goal is to beat the number of food items collected the previous year so more people can have food on the table. 

Click here to learn more about Loaves and Fishes' mission to end hunger in the Charlotte area.

Contact Ruby Durham at rdurham@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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