By Juli McDonald

ATTLEBORO (CBS) – It wasn’t the shortage of disinfecting wipes or toilet paper that sent an Attleboro mom into a panic these last few months.

“To go in a store and there’s aisles empty and there were only one type of a certain thing – it was so strange,” Crystal MacDonald said. “It felt apocalyptic.”

Her search was for SpaghettiOs. It’s the only thing her daughter will eat.

Ashlyn (WBZ-TV)

“Yogurt can taste a little different. Grilled cheese can taste a little different. SpaghettiOs is always the same. It’s her comfort because it’s the only thing that’s the same in a world of chaos,” MacDonald said.

Ashlyn lives with autism, so this is about texture and routine. The 11-year-old is mostly nonverbal. The mother shared on social media she couldn’t find their family’s essential item. Thanks to strangers, they suddenly had more than 100 cans.

SpaghettiOs donated to MacDonald family (WBZ-TV)

“A bunch of people said, ‘Hey I have some’ or ‘I’ve seen them at Walmart in Walpole or wherever. We’ll grab you some. We’ll grab you 12 cans.’ Without me even asking they just went and did,” she said.

That community generosity caught Campbell’s attention; the company is now sending Ashlyn a year’s worth of SpaghettiOs! It’s really the only thing she eats, so the 768 cans should last about six months or so.

“I always remember Mr. Rogers and his mother used to tell him look for the helpers. To see the helpers in our community helping us, that is such an amazing gift beyond what they’ve given us. This gift of real life hope. I can teach that to my children. Everyone has helped.”

Juli McDonald

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