Teens to hold food drive on election day

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By Lisa King

Two Shelby County teens are conducting an election day food drive to benefit a county food pantry.

Jacob Martin, 16, of Waddy, and Thomas Solinger, 17, of Simpsonville, decided to hold the food drive after reading in The Sentinel-News about the food shortage at local pantries, Solinger said.

“We thought it would be a good way to help people in the community who are in need,” said Solinger, who added that he and Martin are also doing the food drive as a community service project for the Governor's Scholar program.

Martin's mother, Starla Martin, said the boys were trying to think of a way to offset the cost of advertising the food drive and Jacob hit upon the idea of holding the event on election day. That way, by putting donation boxes at the polls, the food drive would have exposure to a large number of people.

Solinger said they have been given permission by the county clerk's office to place a donation box at each of the precincts.

Shelby County Clerk Sue Carol Perry said the local Board of Elections had to give their OK to the project, which they did.

“The board thought it was a wonderful idea,” Perry said. “Any time young teenagers are doing something good for the community, I say go for it.”

Perry said the boxes will placed at polls, either outside or inside. People may put non-perishable food items in the boxes.

“If everyone would bring just one can of food, just think how much it will help out,” Solinger said.

The Sentinel-News reported last week that most shelves at local food banks were nearly empty, and were in desperate need of donations.

Julee Carmack, family services supervisor at the Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency, said she was extremely touched by the teens' selfless efforts to help the hungry.

“I think it's great for our youth to think about the needs of the community,” she said. “When they learn that at a young age, it really does make a difference.”

Starla Martin said the boys, who have been good friends since they were babies, are both very excited about the food drive and truly concerned about the hungry.

“They are both really good boys, both outstanding young men,” she said. “I'm glad my son has a friend like Thomas who I don't have to worry about being a bad influence. He couldn't be a better friend.”

Martin said in addition to the collection boxes at the polls, there will also be a donation box placed at W.J. Andriots, located at 718 Main Street. The donation box at that location will be there on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of election week. People may drop off donations of canned goods at that location during business hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Info for text box

Suggested items for food drive

• Canned vegetables

• Fruit

• Canned milk and sauces

• Canned meat

• Dried rice and pasta

• Macaroni and cheese

• Hamburger helper

• Desert mixes

• Juices in cans