A 15-year-old Desert Hills boy is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. For his Eagle Scout project, Jason Ritter has chosen to hold a food drive to help curb hunger in his community.
"I've been doing this about four years and this is the first time I've had an individual take on a food drive all by himself," said David Newman, Food Drive Coordinator for the Foothills Food Bank.
He and Ritter have been working closely as they get closer to Jason's September food drive event.
"He's been doing a lot of the planning, a phenomenal amount of planning. Much more than most food drives actually do to get this all organized and he's done a marvelous job," Newman added.
Jason said he chose a food drive as his project because he wants to make sure the food bank shelves are constantly stocked, and not just during the holidays.
"A lot of people in the area don't have enough money to feed their families and their pets," Jason said.
The teen was diagnosed two years ago with muscular dystrophy and because of heart issues, he also wears a pacemaker, which his parents said helps keep him alive. But, he's limited to how much he can do at times.
"I can't really build because of my muscular dystrophy," Jason said, "Two fingers are numb."
But his gratitude for life has helped fuel a philanthropic passion.
"I realized that other people in the world have bigger issues than I do," Jason said about his health challenges.
Newman says the biggest challenge for the food bank is keeping the food stocked year-round. He said food drives like the one Jason is coordinating are a critical part of making sure the bank is able to fill the need.
"I see Jason inspiring other individuals. To actually go out and put together a food drive on their own, that just rarely happens here so if he inspires two or three people and they inspire two or three people more, that could make a big difference to us in the long run," Newman added.
The Foothills Food Bank serves an area from North Scottsdale to Cave Creek, Anthem and parts of New River.
Jason will collect donations of food on Sept. 27, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at two Fry's locations: 4185 E. Carefree Highway in Cave Creek, and 29455 N. Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek.
Click Foothills Food Bank for a list of needed food donations.
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