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Sheboygan teen paying it forward after experiencing food insecurity

Posted at 6:25 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 19:25:02-05

SHEBOYGAN — During the holiday season, there are a lot of stories about people who give back to the community and those who make generous donations. However, none of those are quite like what a Sheboygan teen is doing.

"I've seen how holidays can affect families," 17-year-old Jhonatan Zavaleta said.

He has seen this first hand. Zavaleta experienced food insecurity from a young age. That's why at 14, he had to get a job to help his mother and four siblings.

"You know even with my siblings and me, a lot of our checks were going to our mother," he said.

However, over time things got better. Jhonatan said things are a lot more stable now. Now, with his newfound restaurant and chef experience, he is paying it forward.

All the proceeds from the jams, chocolate, and COVID prevention bags will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters Sheboygan.

He and his co-worker Sigfried Dalone have cooked jams, made chocolate, and prepped COVID-19 prevention bags. They plan on selling them to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters Sheboygan which Jhonatan is a part of.

"I just think it speaks a lot of his character and the type of person he is, and I’m happy he invited me to be apart of it," Sigfried Dalone, who works with Jhonatan, said.

Inside the COVID-19 prevention bags are masks, lip balm, hand sanitizer, and more. There are multiple different types of chocolates ranging from peppermint to more nutty options. Finally, there are three different jams: triple berry jam, orange rhubarb marmalade, and a thyme and sage chutney.

On Wednesday, each went to two different Piggly Wiggly's in Sheboygan to sell some of their products. If you missed them, you can still support their efforts. You can find their products at Hansen's Tree Farm, Il Ritrovo, and the Sheboygan YMCA throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. They hope to raise $2,500 for families apart of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

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