Ashlynn Gonzales raises 10,000 meals for Second Harvest

Susan EspirituOur Town Youth, West Knoxville

There are countless ways to celebrate a birthday with the choice depending on personal preference like planning a party, pampering yourself, or going a special vacation. Some people are more altruistic than egoistic and use their birthdays to focus to engage in acts of kindness, generosity, driven by a desire to make a positive influence on the lives of those around them.

Ashlynn Gonzales is one of those special people who view their birthday as an opportunity to ask friends and family to give to the others instead of her. She began using her birthday years ago as a fundraiser to feed people with Ashlynn’s Annual Birthday Food Drive, donating canned food for Second Harvest Food Bank.

Last year, Ashlynn raised enough food to feed 5,000 people. This year she hosted the event at Madison Ridge Lane, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. with food benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

Ashlynn excitedly reported, “I do it because I genuinely love it and there is no better gift, I could receive on my birthday than knowing I helped feed 5000 people. This year to make it even bigger I reached out to some people at WIVK who put my information on their website, and WVLT who gave me a segment in the 10 a.m. news. With the help of them, my friends, and my family, we were able to double last year’s numbers!”

That is 10,000 people fed because of a 17-year-old girls’ special plan for her birthday.

Ashlynn’s priorities are a model for this multi-decades old writer, as I am sure it is for anyone who is fortunate to come in contact with her.

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