Teen raises money for school supplies

PHILADELPHIA - August 30, 2012

14-year-old, Matthew Marrero understands better than most kids his age what it's like trying to raise a family in a tough economy.

"My mother, she's a hard-working mother," he said. "My dad, he works only during the summer. He does black top and stuff like that."

So when his parents didn't have the money to purchase his class uniform and supplies, Matthew started gathering some of his personal items to sell.

As word got out, the whole neighborhood got involved.

"I had some old X-Box games and movies that my son wasn't using anymore, so I brought them so he could sell them," said neighborhood mailman Jeff Walker.

Joe Lonergan stopped by Thursday afternoon with a cash donation, and another woman, who has already brought Matthew other clothing items, came today with another package for him; khaki slacks for his school uniform.

"It's exactly his size," said Matthew's mom Maria Leboy.

His mother says she is very surprised at the help they are receiving.

Matthew figured he would need about $300 for his school items. He has collected a little more than $1,000.

"Next year for 9th grade, I want to go to military school," Matthew said. "Hopefully they will accept me, and with all the extra money, I am going to buy my school supplies for next year."

But then he remembered how many people in his neighborhood also needed help, so he told his sister what he wanted to do next.

"Matthew gave me $150 this morning of what people have been giving him, and I went out and bought uniforms for other kids so they could be ready for school this year," said Vanessa Marrero.

"Matthew made me like the proudest mom there is," said Leboy. "He is a good kid; he's not in trouble, just doing this to help himself and to help us, and to help other kids in need."

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