NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- This year, Maria Bulfamante, an eighth-grader at Albert Leonard Middle School, hoped to match the $1,000 she raised a year ago to help end food allergies. Instead, she doubled it, and then some.
Bulfamante wants to see a cure for allergies like the ones that keep her younger sister and their cousin watching what they eat so carefully. She's doing her part to make that happen. She raised the funds by holding a Fall-O-Ween Boo-Tique at the school with friends, and participating with friends and family in an Oct. 14 walk with FARE, or Food Allergies Research & Education, at Glen Island Park.
"I set a goal and thought maybe we could get a little bit more," she said. "Then we got a lot more."
This is her third year taking on the cause; she began in sixth grade, with the blessing of Principal John Barnes. In the Boo-Tique, she sold glow-in-the-dark nail polish and hair bands, Halloween-themed headbands and other items.
"To me, to see a student at this age identifying a problem and then coming up with a way to make it better is exciting," Barnes said. "Maria is really a role model to her classmates, and she's an example of what it means to pay it forward."
Maria hopes to continue the effort next year with her sister, who will enter ALMS.
"I want to find a cure for them so they won't have to worry about it," she said.