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Teen Organizes Food Drive

June 24, 2011

Staff photo/Mike Burkholder: Robert Austin Riggs holds a banner advertising the food drive he organized. Barrels will be set up at Kroger and Pantry Pride in St. Marys.

ST. MARYS — A St. Marys teen today is launching a campaign aimed at helping others in need.

“The Reach for Two: One for U.S. and One for You” food drive is the brainchild of St. Marys resident Robert Austin Riggs, a 16-year-old Memorial High School student. Riggs, the son of Robert and Barbara Riggs, said he decided to start the drive after lower-than-normal results of a recent post office food drive.

“This year they only had less than 2,000 pounds,” Riggs said, noting the drive typically takes in between 8,000 and 12,000 pounds. “So I thought there had to be a better way to make up the difference.”

Riggs has helped out with the post office’s food drive since the sixth grade. Riggs, who also is a member of Civil Air Patrol Squadron 231, has volunteered for Goodfellows.

After the post office drive, Riggs got started on laying the foundation for his food drive. He contacted officials at Agape Ministries in St. Marys, and the entity will be the beneficiary of the donations.

“I was volunteering at Agape and one day I came home and told my mom and she said it was a good idea,” Riggs said. “She went and talked with Ms. (Kathy) Bayless and she really liked the idea.”

Riggs, who already put in more than 60 hours into the project, gave presentations to local fraternal and service organizations in search of donations. In addition to the donations, barrels will be set up outside Kroger and Pantry Pride for the duration of the drive, which runs from today through July 4.

“I’d like to get it back up to where it used to be,” Riggs said, noting he wants to collect at least 10,000 pounds of food.

Banners touting the drive will be placed near the barrels to remind residents of the need for the food. Riggs said he targeted the summer months because of the lack of drives during the season.

“I thought this would be a good idea because there are so many fundraisers during Christmas and all the other holidays but none during the summer,” Riggs said. “We had 3-by-10 banners made up. I’d like to make it an annual event.”

Riggs, whose birthday is July 4, said he hopes for a successful drive.

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