Cory Nichols of Oceanside was busy with the most mundane of tasks —food shopping — but there was a big surprise awaiting him at the register.
When Nichols went to pay for the groceries, Arlene Putterman, manager of public and community relations for Stop & Shop, was waiting for him. She handed him a giant check for $100. A news camera was there to film his reaction. WABC-TV’s Michelle Charlesworth was there to ask him questions.
It was not at all what the 13-year-old Nichols was expecting.
“I was 100 percent surprised,” said Nichols, who is a regular customer of the Stop & Shop at 3577 Long Beach Road. That is where he buys the food that he donates to local food banks. He earns the money by selling bracelets inscribed “C the Difference: Cory Cares,” and by accepting donations. He has worked closely with St. Anthony’s and Oceanside Community Service.
Nichols started the project two years ago after seeing the HBO film “Hard Times: Lost on Long Island,” about Long Islanders facing economic hardships. Since then, he has raised over $10,000 to help feed the hungry. So far, the money he has raised has placed over 4,000 pounds of food on the shelves of the food bank.
The $100 check is the first of twelve that Stop & Shop will provide in order to help local food banks to keep their shelves stocked.
“I’m just one kid, and stop and shop helps a lot of organizations fight hunger, so the fact that they are willing to help me is really pretty amazing. It’s so nice that they are helping me help the people who need it the most in Oceanside. They are making such a big difference,” said Nichols, who will start high school in the fall. He said his efforts would continue until he goes to college. By that time, he says, he will have trained younger students to continue the cause.
“Small things go a long way,” is the advice Nichols will pass along. “Whether it’s one dollar or a hundred dollars, it makes a difference.”
Charlesworth featured Nichols’ efforts in a WABC-TV report, “Above and Beyond,” which aired in May.