Seventh-Grader Involves Rolesville Neighbors in School Food Drive

May 2016

Goal Was to Make a Bigger Impact on Community

By Jeanne E. Fredriksen

Justin Paul

Justin Paul took a school project to the next level and collected 17 bags of food for the needy. Photo by Michael Paul

When North Raleigh Christian Academy (NRCA) in Wake Forest conducted its annual seventh-grade service project, seventh-grader Justin Paul took it a step beyond class assignment. He got his Rolesville neighborhood of Terrell Plantation involved in the project, a food drive to support House of Hope in Clayton.

Justin began his extended project by creating a flier to circulate throughout his entire neighborhood. In the flier, he wrote, “Each year, the 7th grade class at North Raleigh Christian Academy spends a week bringing in non-perishable food items that will be donated to a local food pantry. I can bring in one or two bags if I do this myself, BUT with YOUR help, maybe I can bring in a whole trunk of food for our neighbors in need!”

He hoped to fill the trunk of his mother’s SUV, so he took his flier to the Rolesville Food Lion. Justin explained what he was doing, and store manager Kevin Green donated paper grocery bags for the food drive.

“Food Lion is very happy to support our local communities,” said Green. “We are proud to do our part in helping to fight hunger.”

After stapling his flier to the bags, he then distributed them on a Thursday evening to the 72 homes in Terrell Plantation. The flier explained he would be back on Tuesday to pick up any food or household items the neighbors would like to donate. All the neighbors had to do was to leave the bag of food on their doorsteps after 6:30 p.m.

The neighbors responded enthusiastically. Justin collected 17 paper grocery bags full of donated canned goods, snacks and cleaning supplies. This helped him to reach his personal goal of filling his mother’s trunk. Along with the items that were brought in by other students, North Raleigh Christian Academy made a sizable donation to House of Hope.

When asked about Justin’s food drive project, his neighbors didn’t hesitate to show their appreciation and respect for the young man’s accomplishment.

“We were excited to participate in Justin’s neighborhood food drive,” Nathan Trudell said. “It’s great to see him getting involved in a noteworthy cause.”

Another neighbor, Joanna Manning, had high praise for her young neighbor’s efforts, saying, “I am amazed with Justin’s dedication to serving others. He displays such compassion and generosity toward people in need.”

Melanie Weaver added, “Justin made an eye-catching flier explaining the cause. … His efforts should be commended. Hard work pays off. Way to go, Justin! Keep up the great work and commitment to serving others before self.”

Rather than basking in the glory showered upon him, Justin spoke to the reason behind his action.

“Because I took an existing project and expanded it, I allowed my neighbors to bless others in need,” he said. “I am grateful that they responded so positively to the food drive.”

Justin is the son of Michael and Teresa Paul. When he’s not working to better his community, Justin can be found studying hard to remain on the honor roll. He is a member of NRCA’s National Junior Honor Society and the school’s cross country team. Justin is also working to earn his second degree black belt at the Wake Forest World Champion Taekwondo studio and is a member of their elite demonstration team. He and his family are members of Faith Harvest Church in Wake Forest.