CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Softball wasn’t an option this June, but for the Deanna Marie Rivers Foundation, neither was standing idle. So the committee decided to provide what many families need right now: food.
Deanna’s parents Brian and Debbie “didn’t want to drop the ball for one year,” so they found a new way to pay it forward. Their initial goal was to feed 200 families, but thanks to generous donations from the community and local businesses, they collected enough food to feed 500 families.
“I think this was our ultimate window of opportunity to give back to the community that has been so good to back us since day one of the tragedy,” Brian said. He and Debbie reflected on the gratitude they have for the people that helped get the event off the ground.
“All our volunteers, our family and friends,” Debbie listed. “They just come and do whatever’s needed. It’s stressful at times but it all comes together at the end.”
The end result was a drive-thru food distribution at the Clifton Commons that Deanna would have loved, according to her parents.
“She’d be out there giving out bags, smiling, saying thank you and have a good day to everybody,” Brian said. “That’s what she was. That’s who she was, and in our hearts, she still is.”
Deanna and her classmate Chris Stewart were killed in a tragic car crash on the Northway over seven years ago, but her spirit is still alive.
“I can kind of feel her inside today,” Brian said as he tapped his heart with his hand, “handing this food to people that might be less fortunate. So it was a great feeling.”
After two hours of passing out bags, there were still some left over, but none of the food will go to waste.
“We have a little bit left right now. It’s gonna all definitely get to regional food banks, so we feel great,” said Brian.