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Town Collects 700 Cans of SpaghettiOs for Girl with Autism

Ashlyn MacDonald, a girl from Massachusetts, only eats one food: SpaghettiOs with Meatballs. 

Day in and day out, that’s all she wants. Ashlyn has autism, and teachers were working with her to try new foods before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but that stalled when school was canceled.

Once people started panic-buying groceries, all the SpaghettiOs were mysteriously gone.

“I don’t know if people thought, like, if the world ended you could survive on SpaghettiOs, I just know that I was losing my mind trying to find them,” her mother, Crystal, said.

Word got out that Ashlyn needed the tinned food, and donations started pouring in. Hundreds of cans of SpaghettiOs appeared on her doorstep — 782 cans to be exact — reassuring her mother that there were still good people out there.

“And if it wasn’t for the kindness of people like that, we would not have gotten by,” Crystal said. “When you have a child with special needs, their future is always in the back of your mind. Who’s going to take care of them when I get old? And to see people come out and embrace us gave me so much hope that they will love her and take care of her when I’m not here.”

Other parents of children with autism spoke in solidarity with Ashyln’s mother, reassuring her that she will survive the only-eating-one-food phase so many kids go through. 

“I never imagined that anyone else had a kiddo that would only eat one thing,” Crystal said

The panic-buying phase of the pandemic might be over, but this is no time to stop looking out for your neighbors. 

About the author


Jessie Harbin

Jessie lives in Meridianville with her husband, baby and four dogs. She thrives on chaos, and loves finding good news stories where you least expect them.

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