It’s Friday of National Volunteer Week and the fifth and final Blogging for a Cause post. I can’t thank Elissa Plastino enough for coming along on this ride with me. It was fun. It was exhilarating…at times a little crazy! OK. That was my fault. I’ll admit it. Thanks to you also for letting us share a little of the lights that shine in our lives.
Hey, Hey #PumpkinNation, how are you doing? Well, I guess we are a little out of season for #PumpkinNation, but for this blog post, Elissa and I are going to spotlight the young mind behind that campaign who is also the founder of St. Louis Food Rescue.
High school junior Nate Noss started St. Louis Food Rescue in August 2010. Each week he hops into his little Prius, rounds up donations from retailers such as Whole Foods, Costco, Einstein Brothers and Donut Palace, and then delivers the food to three local homeless shelters.
Each weekend, St. Louis Food Rescue saves over 5,000 pounds of produce, baked goods and dairy products that would have been discarded at the end of the day and deliver it to various organizations such as The Salvation Army Church and Community Center, The Salvation Army Family Haven – A Community in Partnership, and The New Life Evangelistic Center for the Homeless.
We first met Nate last fall when our CEO asked Elissa & I to provide a little social media assistance. You see, Nate is a teen with a heart of gold (obviously, I mean he started a non-profit when he was 15). Anyway, his big heart and big ideas got him in a bit of a pinch last fall when he decided he was going to use leftover pumpkin patch pumpkins to feed the homeless. Next thing you know, he had 1,200 pumpkins in his parents’ garage. We, along with several colleagues in St. Louis and another in Boonville, Mo., immediately jumped in to help and #PumpkinNation was born. While Nate was so thankful for our help, we were equally thankful to have been able to help the amazing young man. He is going to go so far in life, and well, we’ll always have pumpkins!
In January 2012, Nate was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni Award by The Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program. The nation’s foremost youth leadership program gives this award out annually to one of its alumni who have made a significant difference in their communities, ages 16-25. There were over 100,000 people eligible to apply for this year’s award — and Nate won! Nate represented his high school at the HOBY Missouri seminar, and went on to represent Missouri at the World Leadership Congress.
And as much as Nate is doing for St. Louis Food Rescue, he can’t do it alone. The organization needs volunteers, donations and sponsors to keep helping the local homeless population. To make a donation or volunteer, contact Nate, he’d be happy to hear from you!
By the way, you don’t have to wait for National Volunteer Week to come around again, you can volunteer in your community for a number of good causes. Find the one that inspires you, or be inspired by a new cause. The Points of Light Institute has a great search function to help you find something.