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Youth give back to community

By ISABEL BRAVERMAN
November 14, 2012

Richard Lander and Drew Billard are two seniors from Sullivan West High School who went the extra mile in completing their mandatory school senior project. Each year, seniors at the high school must complete a minimum of 15 hours toward a community service project. The boys put in 32.5 hours and surpassed their fundraising goal by more than double.

Their project was to help the Narrowsburg Ecumenical Food Pantry by collecting donations and putting collection baskets in local churches, post offices and businesses such as Coffee Creations in Narrowsburg and Tony’s on the Lake in Lake Huntington. “We just kind of walked in with empty baskets and said, ‘Can we leave these here?’” said Billard. Lander added, “No one said no.” They had a goal of $500 and they raised a total of $1,256 plus around $700 worth of donated food.

Throughout the past three months, they went back to pick up the baskets, many times finding them to be overflowing. A lot of the money raised came from a concession stand that they held at their school’s soccer games.

According to Billard, the senior project is “mainly to involve kids with the community. Most kids just sit at home.” Their efforts also involved the community with a fundraiser dance that was held on November 3 at Tusten Town Hall.

Billard and Lander put out the recommendation that this be a project that kids can continue next year and on after, perhaps branching out to other schools like Jeffersonville.

On November 8, the boys dropped off all the food at the food pantry, located in the basement of St. Francis Xavier Church. With the project completed, they will graduate this year and head off to college next fall.

The pantry is open on Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. for all those in need of food who live within a 15-mile radius of Narrowsburg.