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01/31/2023 10:01 AM

Zander Peno-Bubie: Standing Up to Help Others

Zander Peno-Bubie takes time out of his weekends to help others with his stands to collect donations for the Shoreline Soup Kitchens and Pantries. Photo by Aaron Rubin/The Courier

Zander Peno-Bubie has the most straightforward personal mission statement for supporting those around him. He can sum it up in one sentence.

“I like helping people that are in need,” he says.

For the past two years, Zander has taken time out of his weekends to set up stands to accept donations for The Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantries (SSKP). He began working alongside his older sister in 2015 after she had been running her own stand during the summers since she was six-and-a-half years old. Zander started operating his own stand three years later. He says he gets the philanthropic bug from his family as a whole.

“I saw how she helped people get better and donated all the money to homeless people and helped them get food. My parents help a lot of people, too,” says Zander.

When he did things on his own, Zander initially took after his sister in purchasing the same items she had for her stand, such as jellies, canned goods, and diapers. Wanting to do his own thing, he made a stand for the holidays, when many people needed a warm meal, items to keep them sustained through the cold months ahead, and the most delicious treats of all.

“I was selling baked goods, like pumpkin bread, cookies, brownies, all that stuff,” he says. “I felt it was different because it was the holidays and not in the middle of the summer. I sold beverages, too. We made potholders, too.”

Zander also sold painted rocks with simple motivational messages to his buyers.

“There was one that said, ‘Kindness,’ and, ‘Be happy,’ and a North Pole sign that said ‘Welcome.’”

Last year, he ran the stand for up to six weeks, looking to get more donations for the people he wanted to help.

“I never keep any of it,” he says. All of the donations go toward SSKP.

Aside from food and arts and crafts, Zander also assembles bags full of toiletries, partially because they are items the soup kitchen may need help to afford for those it serves. The bags include toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry detergent, and deodorant, taking trips to several stores with his family to get the necessary personal care materials. Last year, he put together 30 bags of men’s and women’s grooming items.

“We go to Walmart, Target, and BJ’s to buy deodorant, soap, and things they need. Not just food, but things they need to shower,” he said.

Since starting up his stand, Zander has received a positive reception from the donating public. He says he sees himself continuing to help his community in the future.

“They’re really proud of it and happy that some people are helping people in need,” he said. “It makes me feel, like a good person, helping.”

While keeping active with his donation work, Zander keeps active with athletics such as fishing, basketball, and baseball. In the sixth grade at Deep River Elementary, he plays for his school teams.

“I do travel for baseball and basketball. My favorite team in baseball is the [New York] Mets, and in basketball, I like the Golden State Warriors,” he said. “The Mets, my grandfather really likes them, and I started loving them when I was four. I started watching them when I was four.”

Zander is very interested in the Warriors’ superstar roster of players and is “very drawn to those teams,” including the Los Angeles Lakers, who have the best players in the world.

At school, he’s most interested in reading and math. He is very active in those subjects, as well, beyond the classroom.

“I’m a big math person. I’m in two clubs for math. And then I have advanced reading that I was chosen for, same with math. I like school,” Zander says.

While sports keep him physically active, math helps to sharpen his mind.

“I enjoy how your brain has to work for it. It keeps your brain active; it makes you think,” he said. “It kind of sparks me. I always want to learn more about it. I started learning pre-calculus in school because I want to keep learning math and keep going.”