San Jose Teen With Autism Surprises Family, School With Effort To Collect Food For Families In Need
Carol Hoffman was surprised when she saw a neighbor unexpectedly dropping off a box of canned food on the front porch of her San Jose home just days before Thanksgiving.
Shortly after, another batch was dropped off.
Before Carol knew it, her day was filled with a continuous loop of doorbell chimes and dropped-off bags of groceries from friends and neighbors.
At first, Carol had no clue why people were delivering all this food to her home. It was only later that she learned her younger son Eric was the reason for this outpouring of generosity.
Eric, a 19-year-old living with autism, had seen an email from his school on Carol’s phone. It was informing parents that San Jose Unified’s Liberty Advanced Career Education Program was hosting a Thanksgiving food drive for members of their community who needed help during the holiday season.
“So the email was sent to my cell phone,” said Carol, “and Eric always reads my messages and he read about the families that needed Thanksgiving dinner.”
Eric, however, did more than just read the email. “I forwarded it to myself,” Eric said. He then proceeded to send the message to everyone in his entire address book, which was quite a few people.
“Our friend John Rowden showed up at the door with a huge box of canned goods and I said, ‘Oh what’s that for?’ And he said, ‘It’s Eric’s email for his donations.’ Then it clicked. I knew what he had done and then I started getting calls from neighbors and friends to pick up donations,” recalled Carol.
Eric’s generous act caught Carol off guard, but his capability of doing it comes as no surprise to anyone who knows him.
“Eric is the type of person that [when] the neighbor is sick he takes in and out their garbage every week,” said Carol. “He does it without them ever having to ask them to do it,” said Carol.
In the end, Eric was responsible for one-quarter of all the food his school collected during the food drive.