Midlothian teen aims to collect 3,000 pounds of food for needy

MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. (WLS) -- A 15-year-old Midlothian boy, who collected 1,000 pounds of food last year, has set a new record - 3,000 pounds by the end of 2018.

For Dylan Gluszek, it's more than just the holiday giving spirit that motivates him. He has personal experience with hungry and knows the difficulty of filling the food pantry.

"Whenever I see people bringing food and I collect the food and I bring it all to my basement and I weigh it. I always think about, this is the kind of food I'd be getting if I had to go to the food pantry again," Gluszek said.

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Gluszek collects food for the local St. Christopher Parish pantry, which works with St. Vincent de Paul and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

The community's enthusiasm and generosity inspired Gluszek to go even bigger this year.

"I've always thought of Christmas of giving not getting. You can give when you can," he said.

Gluszek had initially set a 1,500-pound goal for food collection by the end of December, but when he surpassed that goal, he set the new 3,000-pound goal.

"Every time I bring food to Sister Laurinda, she is ecstatic about how much food I have," he said.

Sister Laurinda Hefel runs the pantry at St. Christopher, which serves about 3,000 families a year.
"I'm just so grateful when I see him. He's just full of gratitude. It's not all about Dylan. But it's about what he's doing and what he has done. And this is going to help us immensely this year," said Hefel, the food pantry director.

The food pantry is more than a bag of food, she said.

"We like to let them go feeling good. Give them a hug. Say some kind words to them," Hefel said.

Gluszek also has big plans for the summer. He plans to open a micro pantry where people can give what they can and take what they need.

He's also using some of the food he's collected to create homeless care packages.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank are partners in ABC7's "Share the Joy" campaign.
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