During afternoon recess on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Andrew Shinoff can be found surrounded by a frenzied crowd of impatient students waiting to buy frozen juice pops from him.
I chose to help people, and I chose to help Third World countries— Andrew Shinoff, grade 2 student
Andrew, a Grade 2 student at Forest Hill Public School, started selling the treats last year in Grade 1, when his teacher assigned a project in which students had to help people, animals or the environment.
“I chose to help people, and I chose to help Third World countries,” Andrew said.
Andrew’s mother Mindy Shinoff, a registered nurse, suggested he raise money for Interplast, a nonprofit organization that provides free reconstructive surgery to needy children and adults in developing countries.
Originally, Andrew wanted to sell lemonade, but after telling his mother they would have to start by buying wood to build a stand, she suggested selling something frozen instead.
We don’t want other countries to be really really poor and to be hurt— Andrew Shinoff, grade 2 student
“That way we just needed a cooler, which we didn’t have to build,” Shinoff laughed.
Andrew started pitching his wares on weekends at a nearby park, until the family got the idea to have him sell them at school during recess.
After raising almost $600 last year, Andrew decided to raise money for Interplast every year.
“He got such phenomenal acknowledgement from Interplast,” said Shinoff. “They sent him letters and stories about the types of children he’s helped.”
Andrew has written for the school newsletter and made announcements over the PA system to let fellow students know how much money he is raising.
Shinoff said Andrew’s goal is to raise at least $500 for Interplast each year.
“This year, we’ve been doing pretty well,” he said. “Even though we started just in June, we’ve raised over $100 so far.”
Andrew said the job isn’t easy.
“Everyone doesn’t line up, they just crowd all around, and we have to do it really fast because recess is only 15 minutes and there’s like 50 people!” he said.
Shinoff said Andrew’s nanny usually helps him.
“It’s very difficult for one person to do by themselves, whether you’re seven years old or 27 years old,” she said. “It gets pretty crowded, pretty fast.”
I would rather help other countries than have my recess— Andrew Shinoff, grade 2 student
Shinoff described the scene as “100 kids in a crowd all fighting over the last blue one.”
Andrew sells each treat for 75 cents.
“We contribute the freezies, and everything he sells goes to Interplast,” Shinoff said.
Andrew said he doesn’t mind missing his recess.
“I would rather help other countries than [have my] recess,” he said. “We don’t want other countries to be really really poor and to be hurt.”
Shinoff said Andrew has always been concerned about helping others.
“It’s in his nature,” she explained.
Andrew’s grandfather, Murray Rich, agreed.
“He’s a delightful kid and a good boy,” Rich said. “I’m pretty proud of him.”
Andrew will continue to sell the treats until the end of the school year.
“When school’s over, he’ll probably [sell them in the park] until he goes to camp, just to make his goal of $500,” Shinoff said. “If he passes it, that’s a bonus.”
This article was published in the Canadian Jewish News newspaper on March 1st 2007