By John Elliott

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The pandemic has just brought so many hardships to so many of our neighbors, but it has also served as an inspiration.

CBS2’s John Elliott took a trip to the Father English Food Pantry in Paterson on Wednesday.

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“We serve 21,000 people every single month. Before COVID, we were doing 6,000-7,000. After COVID, 21,000,” said Carlos Roldan, the pantry’s director.

“So three times as many people after COVID?” Elliott asked.

“Yes, actually, in November we saw 26,500,” Roldan said.

(credit: CBS2)

For thousands of people in Passaic County, Catholic Charities is their primary — or only — source of food. And while that is a staggering reality, the encouraging part of this big story is the kind of people who are willing to help.

“Oh boy, Peyton. She’s amazing. She’s only 12, and she bakes, and bakes, and bakes. And she has her own family business. The money that she makes, with that money, she buys food for this food pantry. Two days ago she came with 50 bags of food — good food in those bags. Those foods actually went out today, and families were very happy with them,” Roldan said.

“Why do you do what you do?” Elliott asked.

“Well, food pantries have always meant a lot to me. I’ve always loved giving back. I remember when I first learned how awful it really is, I did a lot of research and I found out. Now that you know that some people don’t even eat in several days, it’s really sad and heartbreaking, really,” Peyton Triano said.

“And that’s what motivated you?” Elliott said.

“Yes. No matter how old you are you can still make a difference. Even though you’re a kid, that doesn’t mean anything,” she said.

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“We need more kids like her out there,” Roldan said.

“How old were you when you started baking?” Elliott asked.

“I was about 10, maybe,” she said.

“Two whole years ago,” Elliott said.

“Yes, two years ago,” she said.

Peyton has started her own charity called Compassionate Kids NJ.

Peyton is still baking and selling and donating the proceeds to the food pantry. Her next chapter? She is going to start hosting birthday parties for kids that rely on the food pantry for basic necessities.

The amazing thing is Peyton is only 12 years old, and she is totally committed to this. She wants to grow up and be a professional chef with her own show, but for now she is showing how much heart she has for kids in need.

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