By: Ryan Fitzgerald
For Rudy Hamilton the desire to give back began in high school when he began working with Every Child’s Hope organization, a program dedicated to caring for vulnerable children. After many years working with Every Child’s Hope, Hamilton came up with the idea to create a food drive.
“I really didn’t have all the resources personally, so I took some interest in some organizations and partnering, creating this idea and bond with them to create a food drive for less fortunate families, foster care children, plus the homeless,” said Hamilton.
He started the food drive in 2017 and partnered with stores in the St. Louis Metro area. The first drive was a success, collecting more than 1,700 pounds of food.
And in 2018, the food drive grew even bigger.
But as Hamilton will tell you, it takes a lot of work.
“[I] call stores, reserve days, reserve a time for churches to set up this event, pass out fliers, reach out to volunteers seeing if they want to help. [Deal with] unexpected deliveries and drop offs,” said Hamilton. “This year, we got a couple of gift cards for food and stuff like that. We also got donated some winter attire as far as hats, gloves, scarfs.”
When the volunteering and collecting is complete, sorting takes place so that every family benefitting from Every Child’s Hope equally receives a box with enough food for a full holiday meal.
Through the food drive, the organization was able to feed 130 families, 25 students, and still had enough food left over to donate to other food pantries and organizations in the area.
“The excitement for me right now is, knowing that I did collect a lot more food this year and knowing that I am going to be able to give out more food,” Hamilton said. “This is reaching our mark ten times plus. It definitely took a lot of leg work to get help, but the outcome is bigger than the work that we had to actually put in to actually get it.”
Want to give back in your own way? Hamilton has some advice.
“Anybody can do it. Anybody can give back. Anybody can reach out to somebody,” said Hamilton. “You have to have patience. You have to have that motivation purpose to do what you are wanting to do.”
Hamilton plans on making the Every Child’s Hope food drive an annual event, continuing to feed those in need for the foreseeable future.
“I definitely want to expand it even more, getting more people involved,” said Hamilton. “[Getting] more sponsorships, getting the community base more involved, looking for interest in high school students for volunteer hours. I want to impact a lot more people throughout the years coming.”