Caleb stand with the cases of water donated for distribution through the Open Door Mission.Using money that was donated, Caleb has begun to purchase boxed meals and cereal for the mission as well.

Twelve year old steps outside comfort zone to help others

Most twelve year olds can give you a lengthy list of things they'd rather do than walk door-to-door asking for donations, but Caleb Sherman isn't one of them. 

With parents who actively support charities and mission work around Omaha, Caleb is no stranger to those in need. He was looking to do something with an impact on those less fortunate and what he found on the Open Door Mission's website gave him the direction he was looking for.

"I just wanted to do something good, so I looked at the mission's page and it said they were collecting water since it was so hot," Caleb said. 

He started collecting bottled water last summer, first by going door-to-door in his own neighborhood asking for donations.

"When he started last year, he handed out flyers in our neighborhood asking people to leave it on their porch and he'd pick it up on a certain date," said Brian Sherman, Caleb's dad. "He did that again this year and he also did it with some baseball teams and their parents."

One of those teams actually passed the message along to a team they were playing and that team also donated water.

Last year, Caleb gathered 800 bottles for donation. This year he upped the ante by setting a goal of at least 1,500 bottles.

With over 9,000 bottles collected, it's safe to say his goal was met and then some.

The Sherman family delivered the bottled water that took up "half of the garage" according to Caleb on July 1 to the Open Door Mission in Omaha. 

"We've been in communication with the mission to find out if they wanted or needed it all but they were more than willing to take it all," Brian said. "The dock people didn't get that communicated to them though."

Brian went on to explain, "The guy came out with a little tote and we had to laugh. The truck and vehicles pulled up and they were surprised."

Word had spread about the bottled water drive, so much so that Omaha's KMTV did a segment on the incredible efforts and it went out on Facebook. Members of the Berkshire Hathaway real estate company offered a box truck to load the water into after seeing the social media posts.

"We did 7,500 in the truck and the rest between several vehicles," Brian said. "Six Berkshire Hathaway people helped load and unload the truck."

When the truck pulled up, even the forklift driver paused to snap a photo on his personal cellphone to share, something the Shermans thought was neat to see given the work that would be needed to distribute it all. 

Now that the water drive is done for this summer at least, Caleb, whose grandparents, Don and Judy Sherman, reside in Wayne, is looking at how to help even more of Omaha's population.

Students who receive subsidized lunches during the school year struggle to get adequate food during the summer months. Caleb heard about the effort to collect cereal and boxed meals to donate to the Open Door Mission for distribution.

"Caleb is a quiet kid, but he had a big passion for this and to go out and go door-to-door, that was different for him," said Brian. "But it was good."

The Wayne Herald

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