Meet Dustin, a soon to be 11-year-old from Marcy. Back around Christmas time, him and his hockey team participated in a "adopt a family" program. For him, it was truly an eye opening experience and showed him first hand how in need some in our community are.

As his 11th birthday is approaching, Dustin decided he wanted to do something a little bit different than what he's used to for his special day. He felt he had enough "things" in his life and didn't need anymore.

This year, he's chosen to give up the birthday presents, and help those in need once again. He is asking those who would normally give him a gift, to donate items to the Country Pantry in Clark Mills.

Dustin chose to do this because he never has had to worry about where his meals come from, but he knows there are others in the community that wake up hungry and go to bed hungry.

"We had seen a cousin post that country pantry was in need of donations, we also know volunteers there so we decided that it was time to get to work," said Kaila Fitzgerald, Dustin's mother. "I grew up in Clinton and actually know a few families this food pantry supports."

In addition to directly donating at the Country Pantry, Dustin also set up a donation box outside his house in Marcy, and there's a box set up inside Symeon's Greek Restaurant in Yorkville.

Credit: Kaila Fitzgerald

Dustin has been checking the boxes frequently according to Kaila, and he loves doing it.

"He RUNS to the donation box and is pure smiles when he lugs the bags in."

Him and his family are asking for community members to make this his "best birthday yet" and donate non-perishable food items into his boxes.

"All these local pantries are struggling and if we all stepped up no kids/families would worry," said Dustin's mother, Kaila. She also says it's a full family effort.

Credit: Kaila Fitzgerald

"His sister is helping him sort and count things. It's a sibling event!"

Dustin began his food drive on August 1st and is in the final days of accepting donations, which will end on the 15th.