Three summers ago, Lora Holladay took her son Spencer and a few of his friends to The Salvation Army food pantry in Rock Hill.
The 13- and 14-year-old boys were too young to work after school, so they asked about ways to volunteer during summer break.
It was a steamy June day when the boys saw an elderly lady at the pantry, picking through bare shelves and a “mish-mosh” of picked-over cans, said Holladay, a Salvation Army board member.
The woman left with candied yams and a can of soup, Holladay said.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize the summer is a time to worry about food shortage,” she said. “I think it left an impression on the boys.”
The Salvation Army typically sees donations spike near Thanksgiving or Christmas, but fall during the summer, said Holladay’s son, Spencer.
The boys helped organize a yard sale raising $3,000 to fill the pantry shelves. Still, the teens began thinking about the pantry’s future.
$10,500 The students helped raise $10,500 last year to help create an endowment fund that allows The Salvation Army in Rock Hill to purchase food for those in need in York County.
The students, calling themselves “Pantry Soldiers,” raised $10,500 last year to create an endowment fund through their school that allows The Salvation Army to purchase food to help York County residents in need. They raised the money through a similar bike ride last year, and plenty of other fundraisers.
“I think some people start projects and when they leave, it dies out,” said student Luke Hancock. “But when we have a group of seven, we set up this endowment fund, the money doesn’t go away.”
On Saturday, those seven Westminster Catawba Christian sophomores will host one of their biggest fundraisers of the year for The Salvation Army in the hope to raise thousands more. “Cycle Out Hunger” will feature 25 to 30 cyclists racing 40 to 87 miles throughout York County as an official Come-See-Me Festival event.
One of the boy’s father, ultra cyclist Marshall Nord of York, sparked the idea to hold an open course bike ride. Nord completed a 3,000-mile, 12-day charity bike race from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., attracting a host of sponsors donating money to the food pantry.
“It’ll be about (Salvationa Army) not having to worry about an issue they’ve had ever since they started,” said Spencer Holladay. “For some people who come in, they’re hungry, their kids can’t get school lunches or breakfast, and they have to go hungry. With these donations, they won’t have to.”
I think a lot of people don’t realize the summer is a time to worry about food shortage.
Lora Holladay, board member for The Salvation Army in Rock Hill
The endowment, and possibly the annual Cycle Out Hunger event, will continue to feed the hungry every summer, Holladay said.
“It’s a great organization to contribute to,” said Max Swofford. “It’s something that helps the whole community of Rock Hill.”
Want to go?
What: Cycle Out Hunger bicycle race.
Why: The race raises money for Salvation’s Army food pantry in Rock Hill.
When: 8:30 a.m. April 29.
Where: Starts at the SBR parking lot at 153 E. White St., Rock Hill.
More: Registration costs $30, and donations also are accepted online.