Instead of birthday gifts, Va. Beach boy is asking for pet donations

WAVY/Marielena Balouris

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Have you ever heard of a 9-year-old who doesn’t want birthday presents?  It may sound strange, since most kids want gifts.

However, 9-year-old Jedi Sanford says instead of getting birthday gifts, he wants to help some four-legged friends.

A cat adoption ignited a fire in the 9-year-old on a mission.

“I went to the shelter and all those animals were in a little cage full of about nothing,” Jedi said.

The idea came to him when his family adopted a cat from the Virginia Beach SPCA.  Jedi said, “All the humans have a lot of stuff, they have their own house, they have TVs, they have beds, and the animals just have a cage.”

His family got on board, spreading the word on social media.

“Of course we were just speechless and proud at the moment,” said Jennifer Sanford, Jedi’s mom. “But I thought that, because this was months before his birthday, that maybe, possibly, he would change his mind.  But he didn’t, he never wavered.”

For the last two weeks, donations have been piling up outside the Sanford’s home. “There would be days where we would check the mail and there would be boxes stacked high against our door,” Jennifer said.

On Thursday, they’ll take them to the Virginia Beach SPCA.  With an influx of animals from hurricane-hit areas, those donations will be put to good use.

“We’re kind of just blown away by this act of compassion,” said Michael Lawson, who is the communications and marketing manager for the Virginia Beach SPCA. “As a non-for-profit, we really depend on those donations in order to care for the amount of animals that we have.”

More than 20 bags of food and a table full of toys adds up to more than $1,100 dollars worth of supplies.

“He reached out into the hearts of all of these people and made them want to do something good,” Jennifer said.

Jedi says he’s excited to take the supplies and help out all the animals. If you want to donate, you can contact the Virginia Beach SPCA or the Sanford family at jensanford27@gmail.com.