OSWEGO, NY – For Zac Caruso, a seventh grader at Oswego Middle School, Christmas has always been his favorite time of year.
While fondly remembering the wonderful Christmases he enjoyed, he began to think about what he could do to help make Christmas special for someone else.
He soon decided that his next can drive would be to provide a family with a Christmas to Remember.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I wasn’t sure if I could really do it. However, with the success of my other can drives I feel I can accomplish this goal,” he said.
Zac’s willingness to help others led him to conducting two previous can drives.
Last year, he collected cans and bottles to raise money for the food pantry at Catholic Charities of Oswego County and earlier this year, he did another can drive to benefit the Oswego Animal Shelter.
These two drives gave Zac the confidence he needed to attempt his most ambitious project to date.
Zac’s Christmas to Remember will provide a family with Christmas dinner, presents for the family, a Christmas tree and ornaments and he has even arranged for a visit from Santa Claus.
He is determined to raise the necessary funds by collecting returnable cans and bottles.
With the help of his mom and other family members, Zac is collecting returnable bottles and cans now through Dec. 20, with all proceeds going towards his Christmas to Remember project.
Zac is looking forward to the challenge of raising enough money to make his dream of providing a family with a Christmas to Remember a reality.
“My mom has really been my inspiration for this project. She has always done her best to give my brothers and sisters and I a great Christmas. One my best Christmas memories is the year she gave me an electronic motorcycle with flame stickers that I could actually ride. I was only 4 years old, but I’ll never forget it! I’m doing this project so that other children can experience as awesome Christmas that they’ll remember,” he said.
Zac’s mom, Tammy Perras, is happy to be helping Zac on another can and bottle drive and is proud of her son’s charitable efforts.
“He is very excited about doing this. He has a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye whenever he takes about it. Zac has always been a very generous person, especially at Christmas. He chooses names from area donation trees, usually one named Zac if he can find one, and provides that child with a gift,” she said. “I can even remember Zac giving away one of his presents to another child when heard that they did not receive anything for Christmas.”
“I really want to see him succeed with this project. There is so much attention given to the negative things that kids do that the good things they do to often go unnoticed. There should be more attention paid to the positive things our young people do. I wish him the best of luck,” she added.
Zac’s charitable deeds have not gone unnoticed.
Last year, at his sixth grade graduation, he received the prestigious New York State Comptroller Award for Academic Excellence and Civic Duty.
However, for Zac it’s not about receiving recognition, it’s about helping others.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” he explained.
Zac has established an account with Can-A-Lot Bottle and Can Return so that those wishing to donate to his can drive may leave their returnables at Can-A-Lot locations in both Oswego and Fulton.
“You don’t even have to count your returns, said Zac. “Just bring them into either location and let them know that the donation is for the Zac’s Christmas Can Drive. They’ll count the cans for you and update me on how many cans have been turned in.”
Businesses, organizations or individuals that would like more information on helping Zac raise money for his Christmas to Remember project by donating returnable bottles or cans to his drive may contact him at (315) 532-2145.
Zac will gladly arrange for the pick-up of any donations.
“I’m going to do my best to make this my most successful project yet and give a family a real Christmas to Remember!” he said.