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Chester County Press

Candidate creates ‘Operation Good Neighbor’ food drive

04/21/2020 04:07PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

In an effort to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic, Richard Ruggieri, a candidate for the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives for the 13th District, recently created “Operation Good Neighbor,” an innovative food drive that is gathering food donations from community members through a pick-up service engineered by volunteers.

Under the pick-up system, Ruggieri and members of his campaign team drive to people’s homes to pick up donations that are stored in the mailboxes of those who wish to make donations. After pick-up, the food is delivered to various pantries, and then made available to the families and individuals who live in the Avon Grove, Octorara and Oxford school districts

On Tuesdays, the food is delivered to The Bridge Food Pantry at Avon Grove Church of the Nazarene, for distribution to families in the Avon Grove School District. On Wednesdays, deliveries are made to the Octorara Food Cupboard for distribution to the Octorara Area School District; and on Thursdays, food donations are dropped off at the Oxford Area Neighborhood Services Center for distribution to those living in the Oxford Area School District.

The Operation Good Neighbor Food Drive will be collecting food every week throughout the Pennsylvania Stay-At-Home-Order, and is delivered to food pantries through safe and sanitary measures. 

Begun two weeks ago, the initiative has already donated 750 non-perishable items to food pantries.

“I created ‘Operation Good Neighbor’ because I believe in neighbors helping neighbors,” Ruggieri said. “It’s a simple concept with a great impact. ‘Operation Good Neighbor’ began with inspiration from a childhood hero, Fred Rogers, who once said that when he was a boy and he would see disturbing images and news on television, his mother would tell him to ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

For Ruggieri, a U.S. Air Force and Pennsylvania Air National Guard veteran, “Operation Good Neighbor” not only gives communities easy access to food, it does so during a time when schools are closed, jobs are being eliminated, and when the fear of contracting COVID-19 through close contact with others at grocery stores is heightened.

“When the news of COVID-19 broke, my campaign team wanted to do something to help,” he said. “I believe leadership means honoring and serving your community, your state, and your nation. I am grateful for what the military taught me — honor, service, sacrifice, teamwork and leadership.

“When I joined the Air Force, for the first time, I became part of something much greater than myself. I bring that same dedication to my community of District 13.”

To learn more about the “Operation Good Neighbor” initiative and to join, visit and click on the link for “Operation Good Neighbor.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].