CHICAGO (CBS) — The feasting season is right around the corner — first Thanksgiving and then a host of holidays in December, ending with New Years. But sadly, many families in our area struggle to put food on their tables.
Morning Insider Marissa Parra found a suburban college student doing his part to help fight hunger here.READ MORE: Former Chicago Bear Dan Hampton Faces Driving While Intoxicated Charge After Recent In Northwest Indiana
Laying out decoration is laying the groundwork for charity.
“Before Halloween I’m thinking about December.”
Dylan Gluszek needs no gloves, no help. He’s laser focused. He’s also done this before:
For the last four years, Gluszek has used his Christmas light display as a kind of “bait” for a good cause.
“The first year in 2017, I was able to collect a thousand pounds of food that year,” Gluszek said.
With the goal of bringing attention to food insecurity, he planted a food donation box on his front lawn. Stringing lights kept bringing people. And every year since, he’s broken his own records.
“This past year in 2020 I was able to raise 17,500 pounds of food,” Gluszek said.
The 18-year-old has helped feed tens of thousands starting as a freshman in high school, now a freshman at a Florida college.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Slight Warm Up On The Way
“This is one of the areas where I keep all the food. After I take it to that area and weigh it.”
He has 5,000 empty boxes at the ready in his basement waiting to be filled with food to be given to local pantries. But now, a college freshman with half the time he used to have and three weeks to prepare instead of six, he’s grounded with this year’s goal — a simple one.
“Just hoping to get as much food as I can to local pantries and people in need,” he said.
His drive is a personal one.
“My mom has had to go to food pantries sometimes.”
Over the years, he’s noticed a trend with the people who stop by.
“Some of the most generous people are the ones who need help themselves. I just want to keep paying it forward,” he said.
He needs your help to make miracles happen again this year. The food drive lighting ceremony happens Dec. 19 at 3939 West 147th Place in Midlothian Illinois.MORE NEWS: Police: CTA Bus Driver Stabbed In Hand After Confronting Man Who Pickpocketed Woman In Old Town
For those who can’t make the lighting ceremony but would like to contribute to his cause, you can visit Dylan Gluszek’s website to donate.