An 11-year-old Salem boy took a field trip of his own to the Roanoke Rescue Mission's Women's and Children's Center to deliver donations he collected for his birthday.
Rocky Palotus asked friends and family for items for the homeless in lieu of birthday gifts. He got so many donations, he set up a table at his parent's business, the Salem Art Center, to collect more. Rocky filled more than two six foot tables.
The Rescue Mission says it's overwhelmed by Rocky's generosity. "I think this young man has a great future," said Kim Gembala with the Rescue Mission. "He's learning volunteerism and giving at a very young age."
Gembala says the donations come at the perfect time. "The Rescue Mission gets donations throughout the year but the majority of our toys come at Christmas but we have birthdays and 'I got an A on my report card.' Those sort of things we want to give children awards for or thank you for. It's really just nice to fill up our toy closet upstairs so it's used throughout the year."
Rocky collected more than toys as well. He was able to check a number items off of the Mission's wish list, including diapers, toiletries and bedding.
He and his sister and parents also took a tour of the facility to learn more about it and to see how his donations will be put to use.