CHATHAM — Unlike many children his age, Samuel Love is not spending too much time thinking about all the gifts he might get for Christmas.
Instead, the 9-year-old is busy organizing a local toy drive to benefit New York children affected by Hurricane Sandy.
"Christmas is a time of giving and sharing. Not many kids my age think about that, but I do, and that's why I want to make sure kids in New York have a good Christmas," the third-grader said.
The student at Beasley Elementary, 5255 S. State St., lives in the Pill Hill neighborhood on the South Side. He said he thought of holding a toy drive after watching footage of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy on TV.
"That's when I started thinking about how those kids might not get any gifts this year because their parents can't afford it," Samuel said.
He is asking the public to drop off new, unwrapped toys all this week at his school or at Josephine's Cooking, 436 E. 79th St., a soul-food restaurant in Chatham owned by his grandmother, Josephine Wade.
On Saturday, Samuel is hosting a Christmas party at Josephine's Cooking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a $10 donation required to get in the door, but "If you bring a toy, admission is free," he said.
He has set a goal of collecting 3,000 toys to distribute to needy kids in New York. Those who attend the Christmas party will be treated to a buffet lunch. There will also be a Santa Claus to take photos with children for $10. All monies raised will be used to buy toys and ship them to either a military base or a children's charity in New York for distribution, according to Samuel's father, Victor Love.
"I am so proud of my son for the sacrifice he is making for those who are less fortunate," Love said. "This is his first time organizing a fundraiser, and with God's help I know it will turn out well."
Samuel said he gets a lot of his giving ways from his father and from attending worship service at Salem Baptist Church in the Pullman community on the South Side.
"My dad has encouraged me to step up and do more to help people. I am volunteering at my church this year to feed the homeless on Christmas Day," added Samuel. "I really hope my actions lead to more people, not just kids, taking time to help people in times of needs."
Classmates at Beasley, neighbors and church members are all participating in the drive.
When the baseball lover is not at school, church or volunteering his time to help others, he enjoys playing video games, listening to Michael Jackson songs and watching his favorite TV show, "Jessie," on the Disney Channel.
"People would say I am a good kid. But I say I am a kid who likes to do good things for others," Samuel said.