Helping the homeless with Tiffany
It's a common story — a child sets up a lemonade stand to earn some extra cash. But, it's a rare twist when that child decides to donate his hard-earned proceeds to the American Red Cross — at the age of 4. That's just the start of the volunteer work that now-10-year-old Brandon Dicicco of Milford, Conn., has accomplished.
"He's one of those children that just can't stand to see people in distress and not help," his mother Samantha Dicicco said.
Brandon's desire to give back began in 2004 when the then-4-year-old heard of the disastrous tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia on Dec. 26. He set up a lemonade stand to raise donations for the victims.
"I thought it would be nice if everyone helped, and then people could use the money to build new houses," the Community Champion recalled. Brandon earned more than $200 in a single day — all of which he donated to the Red Cross' tsunami relief.
In the years to follow, Brandon continues to demonstrate his compassion, most recently by raising money for a local shelter. To date, he has collected nearly $5,000 in both food and money — even if it means standing outside of Stop & Shop with a coffee can in his hand.
On Aug. 3, WWE Diva and ECW General Manager Tiffany joined him for an afternoon at the New London Community Meal Center, cooking dinner for those less fortunate. (PHOTOS)
"Brandon is such an amazing kid. I had heard all that he had accomplished and I was so impressed by him," said Tiffany, a fellow philanthropist who is co-leader of the mission group, Hope Children's Home, a home for children who have been abandoned and abused. "I've already told his story to so many people. His humility and humanitarianism make him one of, if not the, most amazing kids I've ever met."
Together, with Brandon's parents, younger brother and grandmother, Tiffany spent hours helping Brandon make 15 dozen eggs' worth of egg salad, 20 cups of rice and fresh salad to serve.
"As soon as I got there he put me right to work cracking eggs!" Tiffany laughed. "We used teamwork to make dinner for almost 200 people."
"Tiffany was excited to help, which was really cool, Brandon said. "Having a WWE Superstar there made my day so much more exciting."
Besides volunteering at the New London Community Meal Center, Brandon tackles countless year-round service projects, such as running an annual Thanksgiving food drive at his school. The 10-year-old collaborates with his school social worker to donate food to the families of fellow classmates who are in need. Leftover food — and there is plenty as he collected more than 300 pounds so far — is brought to the Milford Food Bank in Connecticut.
Brandon is also the youngest member of Milford's Mayor's Youth Committee for People with Disabilities. Through the group, he came up with the idea to host a citywide Hat Day to benefit his disabled peers. Brandon single-handedly asked principals if their schools would participate in the fundraiser, which allowed students to donate $1 in exchange for the right to wear a hat to school for the day. To date, Brandon has raised more than $2,500, which he donated to Camp Happiness, a Connecticut camp for children with disabilities.
It just makes me happy to go to the shelter, and run the food drive, and to do good deeds," Brandon said. "If everybody does one good thing, whether once a week or once a day, it would really help and make a difference in someone's life."
As far as his future community service plans, Brandon simply stated, "The next thing I'll do is whatever people need help with."
And Tiffany couldn't be more in awe of the young boy's compassion. "Spending the afternoon with Brandon taught me so much. As humble as he is, I hope that he continues to spread the word on what he's doing, helping people get involved, and that he never lets anyone discourage him."
If someone you know is getting involved and making a difference in your community, nominate them as a WWE Community Champion at firstname.lastname@example.org.