In many ways, Chase Miller is a typical Abbotsford, B.C. kid: he loves the playground, baseball, and painting class at school.

But when Chase started thinking about how he wanted to celebrate his seventh birthday, he did something that was not very typical at all – he decided to give back to hungry children at his elementary school.

“Hungry kids come to school Monday morning that don’t have any food,” Chase said, noting his birthday wish was to help his peers.

Chase’s mom Eliza Miller told him about the Starfish Backpack Fund, which ensures that children in need go home each weekend with a backpack full of food.

Hundreds of children in the Abbotsford School District were identified as going hungry over the weekend, so the Abbotsford Rotary Club stepped in, working with the school district and the community to ensure these kids are fed.

Chase liked the idea, and decided to donate $50 from his own savings. He also asked family and friends to donate a dollar each with the goal of raising $100.

But after Chase’s mom started a Facebook page and the family launched a number of fundraisers, the donations began to fly in.

To date, the young man has raised more than $8,200 for the Starfish Backpack Fund, a sum of money that will fill 15 backpacks with food for an entire year.

“It’s just amazing what he’s done to help the kids in this community,” said Leslie McConnell, president of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford, noting that 255 students in 22 Abbotsford schools are currently being fed through the program. “When kids are hungry, they’re not learning.”

Chase has also spent time with the Starfish volunteers that load the backpacks with food each week. Some of the kids he goes to school with have even asked him if he packed their backpack.

Chase’s mom says she has been blown away by the generosity of strangers.

“We had strangers, complete absolute strangers, they've never interacted with me or my family... donate tons of money,” said Miller. “I cried almost every single day.” 

And not only that – Miller says her son has learned some valuable life lessons too.

“Treat others the way you wanted to be treated,” she said. “That’s what he’s really learned from all of this.”

“He’s always been a kind and generous kid, and I’m very proud of him.”

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro