Local teenager speaks to JSU about self-founded charity
According to a public policy research organization based in New York, ninety percent of adults in America believe that young people have failed to learn proper values. Luckily, Lafayette High School senior Nate Noss proves that just one person, young or old, can make a difference.
At the Ladue Jewish Student Union (JSU) meeting 2:30-3:30 on Oct. 24, Noss spoke about his role as founder of St. Louis Food Rescue, a non-profit organization run exclusively by teenage volunteers, which feeds 5000 people per week. Noss explained that he had always been an active participant in his community, serving for four years at Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. However, he slowly realized that more had to be done.
“I was volunteering around 150 hours a year, but then a new manager arrived and said that baked goods were unhealthy,” Noss said. “They were all thrown away after that and I couldn’t stand it. The parking lot [of the food pantry] couldn’t even accommodate the number of cars and food was getting thrown away.”
As he grew disillusioned by the policies of the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, Noss had the opportunity to attend Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership’s (HOBY) Missouri Seminar as Whitfield’s representative. The organization fosters leadership among Missouri youth.
“HOBY puts you together with the best leaders from high school and the experience simply blew me away,” said Noss. “You meet 150 new people. Every single person has a positive attitude. The fear of saying something stupid goes away.”
The experience inspired Noss to work even harder to serve his community. Days after he returned from HOBY, Noss founded St. Louis Food Rescue. Noss and volunteers go to food stores to collect food that would normally be wasted and then donate the food to organizations such as the Salvation Army or the New Life Evangelistic Center for the Homeless in downtown St. Louis. Some of St. Louis Food Rescue’s major suppliers include Einstein’s Bagels, the Donut Palace, and Whole Foods Market. However, not all businesses supported Noss’ mission. Even when some businesses rejected his proposition, Noss didn’t back down.
“A manager at one store laughed at me,” Noss said. “Many people don’t seem to think that young people are capable of managing a charitable organization.”
Noss spends 12 hours a week collecting the food and coordinating his volunteers. He also speaks to various groups at different high schools nearly every day. Though the workload is intense, Noss is motivated by his experiences.
“I was delivering food to the New Life Evangelistic Center downtown,” Noss said. “I normally just give the food to the shelter so they can distribute it accordingly. But a homeless man walked up and asked for some food so I gave him a few grapes. He ate them and then told me that he hadn’t eaten a grape in twenty years that he had been on the streets. Knowing that you can help someone like him is rewarding.”
Noss has worked to expand his organization over the years and spoke to Ladue’s JSU club for a purpose. Contact Noss at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be involved.
“Everyone in this world has been young once and I want [everyone] to have the opportunity to do something great when [they're] adults,” Noss said. #