Zachary Rink, at 12 years old, sells hot chocolate mix in the shape of reindeer to support homeless veterans. He and his parents run a hot chocolate stand in New Jersey and ended up raising 250 dollars for homeless veterans. Vicki, Zachary’s mom, came up with the reindeer decorated mix idea while on Pinterest. Zachary’s dad, Chris, set up the donation through NHS Fresh Start.
Zachary’s neighbor, who was a veteran from World War II, passed away. Around the same time, Zach was doing his 2015 school project about veterans. In class, he had learned about veterans who have trouble adjusting after they return home to the United States and end up being homeless. This is what inspired him to do something.
Since last year, a lot of people have joined Zachary in his efforts. The reindeer hot chocolate mix was decorated and packaged by 30 volunteers. Zach’s teachers and fellow students, as well as a local troop of Girl Scouts, have joined the project. In the previous year, the number of requests for hot chocolate mixes was so great that they couldn’t meet the demand. Getting so many people involved really helped to make the stand more productive than ever.
The response to Zachary’s hot chocolate stand was an invitation for him and his family to an NHS Fresh Start breakfast and ceremony where Zach would speak and get to see the people that his fundraising helped. While larger donations are usually favored, the veteran’s response was so positive that Zach and his family were chosen.
Given the great response from the veterans and the guest speaker at the ceremony, Sgt. Joseph Rullo, they asked Zach if he was planning on doing this again next year. Zach’s answer was a definite yes and that he thinks it is a good thing to do. This story speaks volumes about the type of community that Zach and the people around him have created; a place where people take care of each other’s needs and support each other in their endeavors.