'Typical Joshua': 12-year-old champions massive winter charity drive
'To see him helping so many people, it means the world to us,' says boy's mother
Joshua London went to the hospital so he could get better, but his visit is actually going to make life better for a lot of people he doesn't even know.
While there, the 12-year-old from Rothesay, N.B., noticed a basket of little things like shampoo and conditioner in the hospital room with a sign that read "Take one if you need one."
It was typical Joshua, very concerned and wanting to know what's going on.— Michelle London
He fumbled through the stuff before he asked his mom what it all meant, what this basket was and about the message that came with it.
For Joshua, it wasn't just a basket of toiletries — it was an invaluable lesson about poverty, about "people like you and me" in need in his community, he told CBC's Shift: New Brunswick.
That's when he started Joshua's Bare Necessities.
Over 6,000 donations so far
Joshua started the campaign and its Facebook page several months ago in an attempt to gather some items to help those in need in Saint John.
What began as a small act of charity has resulted in hundreds of donations and thousands of items cluttering his house from top to bottom.
Money, mittens, soaps, socks, toothpaste and toilet paper — you name it, Joshua's received it. His living room is packed with over 6,000 collected items and there's even "some in the kitchen" he said with a laugh.
Joshua has spoken with shelters and people in need since he started his campaign and he's on a mission to give everything he can back to his community during the Christmas season.
'It means the world to us'
"It was typical Joshua, very concerned and wanting to know what's going on," said his mother, Michelle London.
"To be honest, when he said he wanted to start this, we figured a couple dozen items and that would be it."
People from as far away as the Cayman Islands have contacted the family and expressed their support for Joshua's campaign, London said.
Most of all, she said she's "extremely proud" of her son and the community that's lifted up her boy's foundation.
"We are so impressed with everything he's learned, the people in the community, it's helped bring him out of his shell with public speaking," she said.
"It's been a lot of positives for him and to see him helping so many people, it means the world to us."
The family is close to organizing the donated items and plans to start delivery to shelters and to those in need beginning Monday.
With files from Shift: New Brunswick