By Andria Barrios

By this time, most New Year’s Resolutions have been completely forgotten. But this one, made by a local industrious 12-year-old boy named Jared Thayer, is still being carried out with success.

 “I saw that after the holidays, food pantries are not noticed as much,” said Jared. “But people must still be hungry.  So I thought if we as a family could buy an extra item a week, and get others to do this as well, we could help out local food pantries throughout the year.”  Jared came up with the name Project Sunshine, and the work began.

Open Hands Food Pantry, a charity organization that sets up boxes of food for needy families, was the first chosen charity for Project Sunshine’s donations. This generous seventh grade student attends Bell Creek Academy and lives with his family in the Riverview area.

With his compassionate heart and enthusiastic drive, Jared and his parents began collecting items with rapid success. By April 19, Project Sunshine had collected 232 items and the first donation to Open Hands was made. On May 22, the original goal of 520 items had already been completed, so the Thayer family raised the goal to 1,000 items by the end of the year.

Judy, Jared’s mom, often shops with coupons in order to collect more goods to donate. A variety of families and generous members of the community have donated countless items as well.

A local consignment shop near FishHawk, the Gym Locker, has even chosen to become a donation drop off location for Project Sunshine. Albano Chiropractic Center has also chosen to help out by allowing drop offs for Project Sunshine.

But they continue to seek donations in order to reach their goal for the end of the year. “This makes my heart feel good,” says Jared, “and it will make yours too.”

For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/projectsunshine3 or contact projectsunshine3 @gmail.com.  Gym Locker Consignment Shop, Project Sunshine drop off location, is located at 16725 FishHawk Blvd. Albano Chiropractic Center, another drop off location, is located at 1310 E. Lumsden Rd.