AKRON, Ohio — Sometimes a simple idea to help a community in need takes off in unexpected ways.
Such is the case in Akron where a man who is on a mission to help the hungry received help from a group of sixth graders.
Several Innes Middle School students stood on East Avenue Thursday morning and yelled, "bake sale" to drivers and walkers. Other kids sat behind a table and took orders for cookies, brownies, muffins and chocolate-covered pretzels.
The baked goods were sold for 50 cents to $1, but the sale was not intended to be a school fundraiser. Customers brought cans or boxes of food and donated the items to an upcoming food drive called Feed the City.
One man unloaded several bags of food from his pickup truck and thanked the kids for what they were doing.
"You guys are doing awesome stuff," he said as he headed back to his truck.
Gabriella Falkenstein, one of the students, felt good about helping those facing food insecurity.
"It's hard to think about those people who may not have enough to eat, and then, we're over here getting fed daily," she said. "We're helping a lot of people."
Kenny Lambert, known as "Just a Dad from Akron", organized the Feed the City event and has been collecting food at his clothing store—by the same name—on Kenmore Boulevard.
On Thursday morning, he gave all of the kids T-shirts in Innes Middle School colors with the words "Be the change Akron needs" on them.
"A lot of people always say I inspire them, but this is the stuff that inspires me. To be able to be a positive role model to the kids," Lambert said.
Before turning his life around, Lambert was homeless and struggled with drugs and alcohol. He went to jail where he came to the realization that he needed to be a better dad to daughter and a better man for his community.
"Just a Dad from Akron" is not only his identity and business. He also considers it a movement to improve the lives of families, and especially children, in Akron.
"When I came out of jail, I wanted to help people. I was addicted to, like, helping people," he said.
Lambert believes the food drive will made a difference to many people who have struggled during the pandemic, including those who are no longer receiving extra unemployment benefits.
"The idea was to get a bunch of food and to help those people in between while they're looking for jobs," he said.
The food will be given out to people from 1 to 3 p.m. on July 3rd from Lambert's store located at 937 Kenmore Blvd.
He hopes the kindness displayed by kids at the bake sale inspires others to chip in.
"No matter where you're at in life, you can work on yourself, be the best version of yourself and inspire anyone around you."