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Whiz Kid: Middle School Student Organizes Successful Drive For Ronald McDonald House

Jacob Cytron's efforts were a boon to the Ronald McDonald House in Creve Coeur.

Editor's note: Information provided by the communications staff at Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Seventh-grader Jacob Cytron of spent a recent day standing outside the Schnuck’s store at Ladue Crossing, collecting items in support of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis—but this was no ordinary can collection. With the help of his parents, Jacob organized an efficient, foolproof system of accumulating a specific set of goods, which totaled more than 30 bags in just four hours.

But before he stationed himself outside of the store asking for donations, Cytron did his research. He knew that planning was key.

After he selected Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis as the beneficiary of his service project, Cytron and his father emailed the organization to ask for a wish list and a logo, so they could create signage that was legitimate and eye-catching. And the planning didn’t end there.

“We went into Schnuck’s, and we looked in the aisles to see where these items were,” Jacob said. “We put a map of Schnuck’s on the back of the wish lists we handed out. It had a picture of all the aisles and a picture of where all of the items were located in the aisles. We were trying to make it easy.”

As it turned out, all the hard work paid off.

“A lot of people were very generous. After a couple seconds of explaining, they were happy to help,” Jacob said.

 Jacob said to encourage and reward generosity, he offered incentives to shoppers who purchased at least three items.

“I bought an iTunes gift card, and we had a raffle,” Jacob said. “If they bought three items or more, they could fill out the (raffle) sheet and put it in a basket. The more items they bought, the more chances they would have at winning. At the end of the day, we drew a name, and someone won. It was really fun.”

When the time came to deliver the items to the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Mercy Hospital St. Louis in Creve Coeur, the Cytrons loaded everything into their minivan, which was packed to the brim.

“We had to fold down all the seats, except for the two in front,” Jacob said. “I thought would collect a good amount of stuff, but I didn’t think we would collect a whole minivan full. We went over to Ronald McDonald House and donated the items. It was really cool to see how surprised they were.”


Nate Birt October 05, 2011 at 10:17 PM
What a great story. I love all of the planning that Jacob went to in an effort to recruit help for this drive. The maps are ingenious.

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