Between working two jobs at the Annapolis Harbormaster’s Office and Smith’s Marina, and being a senior at Archbishop Spalding High School, Brice Persico is a busy teenager. Now, he can add “community servant” to his resume.
After seeing how COVID-19 impacted the community and local pantries, Brice started Pack-A-Pickup, a community food drive with the goal of filling the bed of one or more pickup trucks with food for local pantries.
Pack-A-Pickup was originally an event for Brice’s neighborhood, Lakeland, but after one successful drive, he knew his idea could do a lot of good. He advertised the event on the community Facebook page and parked his truck at the front of the neighborhood.
“Back in April of this year, I wanted to do something for the community, so I did a small drive in my neighborhood,” said Brice. “There was an amazing turnout for that, so I started doing more and the turnout kept getting better.”
The support from the community was overwhelming as word spread to other neighborhoods. Everyone was looking to support Pack-A-Pickup and Brice in any way that they could. A family friend, Rich Craft of Signs By Tomorrow, even donated 10 signs to Pack-A-Pickup for Brice to use during events.
After a friend approached him with the idea, Brice partnered with the Spalding senior class to host a Pack-A-Pickup event as the class’ community service project. Brice had various meetings with the class council, moderators and administration to get the event approved. On November 11, eight trucks were filled, which brought the Pack-A-Pickup grand total to 15 trucks. All of the food collected at Pack-A-Pickup events is donated to local pantries.
“I was working with [Ellen Kinsella] from SPAN for the first couple of drives, but recently we have expanded to include ACAN and Helping Hurting People,” said Brice.
Brice said the organizations were grateful and excited to accept the donations. With the pandemic affecting so many people’s employment, food pantries are struggling to keep up.
“They’ve had a huge amount of people coming in,” said Brice. “Everyone is in need of food right now, so this was the perfect year to do this, especially with everything going on right now.”
Brice found his inspiration from one of his favorite quotes from the Annapolis-based Travis Manion Foundation, “If not me, then who?” There were many adults capable of hosting a similar event, but Brice decided to take matters into his own hands. He said that while helping people has always been important to him, the pandemic gave him the push he needed to make a difference.
He credits the community’s ongoing support and his mother, Marianne Persico, for helping him through the process. Marianne has been his support system through the entire process, assisting him in brainstorming, proofreading important emails, getting the word out and much more.
Marianne said that the entire family is proud of Brice for channeling his energy into something to better the community.
“Brice is not one to sit idle, so when the quarantine started, he wanted to take action to help those in need,” said Marianne. “We are extremely proud of his focus and dedication into making his initiative such a success and are grateful to the community for supporting him."
While there are no definitive plans, Brice is planning another Pack-A-Pickup event with Spalding near the end of the school year, and another community event closer to holidays when money is especially tight for many families.
To receive updates about Pack-A-Pickup and any future events, visit the Pack-A-Pickup Facebook page.