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Anderson Kreis is proof that one person can make a huge impact.

Earlier this month, the 12-year-old finished his third-annual food drive to benefit the Arlington Little Free Pantry, which sits outside Living Word Lutheran Church at 6108 Chester Street in Arlington. This year’s drive raised more than $2,500 in food and cash donations in a week.

“It was great to see how many more people wanted to get involved,” Anderson said.

Three years ago, his first food drive raised more than $300 in food and cash donations, and he raised more than $500 the second year. He has even bigger plans for next year.

“My next year’s goals are to have my brother, Landon, help me more with the project and double our donation size (to about $5,000).”

His parents, Melinda and Michael Kreis, helped him with the project.

“This year was just incredible,” Melinda said. “So many people want to help, especially right now.

“Because of COVID-19 and the restrictions, a lot of people obviously aren’t getting out. For most people who donated, they just PayPal-ed us directly. People who’ve never met (Anderson) sent money.”

Melinda pointed out that the food donated also helps kids who are out of school for the summer and might not have adequate food at home.

Living Word Lutheran Church hosts the Arlington Little Free Pantry by providing maintenance, management, installation site and storage space.

“When Anderson and his parents came by with the food earlier this month, I was almost in tears to think that this 12-year-old young man had done this at his age,” Living Word Pastor Gordon Myers said. “It’s just phenomenal and a wonderful story.”

The pantry started as a community project, and the Kiwanis Club of Northeast Shelby County assumed the fiduciary responsibility for it, with a local Girl Scout troop handling some of the construction and painting of the box.

The pantry is not monitored, there are no qualifications to visit and it is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days a year.

For more information, please check out the full article from the Daily Memphian: