NANAIMO — Hundreds of boxes of a limited-edition pasta have filled the home of a family in Nanaimo following a plea to help their autistic son.
Reed Botwright put out a call on social media last week when he and his wife could not track down any more boxes of Star Wars Kraft Dinner, one of the only foods their six-year-old son Everett will eat.
Everett is on the autism spectrum and began paring back which foods he would eat about three years ago, Botwright explained, describing his son as a “special boy” with a huge imagination.
“One of his kind of key issues has been surrounding food for smell, taste and texture,” he said.
When the red-headed youngster specifically requested the character-shaped noodles, his parents were ecstatic. They stocked up on Star Wars KD the next time they were out shopping, but later realized the cheesy pasta was a limited release.
So Botwright posted messages on Facebook and Instagram last week, asking his network if anyone had extra boxes they could pass along or recommendations on where the family could find more.
“Little did I realize that it would spread like literal wildfire and reach so many different people,” he said.
A friend of a friend even tweeted Canadian actor William Shatner, who shared the little boy’s story.
“I think it was at that point that I realized it was blowing up pretty big,” Botwright said.
The family has received more than 500 boxes of Star Wars Kraft Dinner over the past week, including 411 that were shipped to Vancouver Island from Real Canadian Superstores in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. The boxes came packed in plastic totes so the family can safely store them.
Individuals have sent the bright blue and orange boxes, too, Botwright said, and many of them come with special messages.
“A lot of kids have heard the story and they write little notes inside and put hearts and star stickers on the outside. It’s been amazing, just so magical.”
The family has also received messages of support from individuals around the globe, including people who have kids on the autism spectrum and have offered support.
“They’re giving us some advice, some tips and encouragement, just saying, you know, ‘We were in exactly the same position as you five years ago and things are just so much better now because we worked at it and it got better,'” Botwright said.
Now the father of four is hoping Star Wars Kraft Dinner will be a stepping stone to a broader diet for his son after Everett indicated he may be willing to try other variations of the pasta.
Already the noodles have exposed the family to a whole community full of caring people who want to make their little boy happy and comfortable. The experience has been “incredible,” Botwright said.
“The culmination of it is going to be so much bigger and better than just a few boxes of Star Wars Kraft Dinner.”
By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver
The Canadian Press
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