Ready, Set, Give
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Joey Swentosky is just like any other fourth grader. He loves sports, his family, running around and picking on his little brother, but this little boy wants to help the world in a big way. For the past three years, Joey has run a community-based food drive called Ready, Set, Give. Donations go to the Faith Centre food bank in Bellefonte. His mother, Becky Swentosky, says he started this in second grade, "He came home from a school fundraiser, motivated to do something himself, so we came up with this idea and he was very encouraged by his teacher at the time and it's sort of progressed over the years." That teacher was Nicole Harris, whose class participated in the annual Jump Rope for Heart event, raising money for the American Heart Association. Harris says, "We were really focusing a lot on random acts of kindness and being kind to others and Joey took it and he ran with it. He did his own food drive. It's just been something that he has done year after year since then." Joey is a sports-enthusiast and competitor at heart, so he sets a higher total for himself each year. He has successfully reached each goal and is setting it to an all-time high for his upcoming food drive this spring, hoping to hit a home run with 300 pounds of food collected. He says, "It changed my whole life. It's not just the goals of the food, it's not just the goals of how many pounds it is, how many pounds of food I wanna get, it's just a goal to make everybody equal." Joey rides around neighborhoods on his bike, knocking on doors for food collections and delivering them to the Faith Centre. Traditionally, he has done this around Thanksgiving, but now he is holding his first spring food drive from April 22nd through April 28th He says it is a team effort, because he could not do it without the help of his friends, family and everyone who donates, "It's not just me, it's a lot of people, and it's just like baseball. Baseball's a team thing, I play baseball, it's a team effort. You can't do it with just one person." In addition to knocking on doors, Joey is reaching out to local businesses for help. He's looking for more drop centers, where people can donate canned or dried goods and toiletries. Anyone who is interested in getting involved can email ReadySetGiveBig@gmail.com.