Residents in River Hills recently held a food drive for Seeds of Hope.

River Hills residents came together for those in need last month by collecting car loads of donations for a local food bank.

“Seeds of Hope, Inc. is located right here in our own backyard and is primarily funded through the donations,” said Julie Rule, chair of the River Hills Social Team. “They provide food assistance for our community in need and offer meaningful community service hours for students. Seeds of Hope, Inc. has three main ways of distributing food: through a mobile pantry for local residents, through a once-a-week distribution open to all and through the backpack of food program coordinated with local schools. After the onset of COVID-19 school closings and the higher unemployment rates and social distancing guidelines, their demand has been greater than ever.”

According to Rule, local realtor and River Hills resident Brenda Wade knew of the need to help stock Seeds of Hope’s food pantry and can be credited with this grassroots effort which all started with a Facebook post.

“Almost immediately after Brenda posted the request, she had a key volunteer in Andrea Heeps, who agreed to help the cause,” said Rule.

Heeps and Wade kept residents abreast of the food drive plans via their Facebook posts, pictures and videos. They recruited volunteers to create signage, help set up boxes at each neighborhood sign, collect donations in the golf carts, sort and fill boxes with the donations, load the truck and make the deliveries.

“We couldn’t have pulled this off without the help of our volunteers, Cameron Troyer, Thomas Heeps, John Heeps, Luke Patten and Madeline Felegy,” said Heeps. “They made it happen!”

River Hills residents raided their own pantries and also made specific trips to Publix to be able to make donations. The donations ranged from single items to a car’s trunkload.

“Kudos to all the residents who donated and helped bring this activity to life,” said Rule. “A simple Facebook post grew to what would end up filling three full-size pickup truck beds of donations. Thank you to everyone who helped.”

River Hills is a deed-restricted, multi-village, controlled access community with 1,162 single-family homes and common lands surrounding a country club and golf course located at 4350 New River Hills Pkwy. in Valrico.

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