Family eases grief by giving back

Published 11:46 pm Monday, October 31, 2011

Kathy Shores was desperate to find something to ease her family’s pain when she lost her nephew two years ago.

Shores’ nephew, Hunter Richardson, was only 23 years old when he was struck by a car while crossing the street in Virginia Beach close to Thanksgiving of 2009.

“I struggled for a whole year to do something comforting for my brother and his wife,” Shores said.

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At their first Thanksgiving without Hunter, she said, she decided the best way to honor Hunter’s memory was to do something to help others.

“We just decided to try to do something positive that could help somebody or some pets to honor and remember him,” Shores said.

As a result, they held a food and pet supply drive last year, and the family is once again reaching out to the public to assist them in their goal to help others while remembering their loved one.

The drive benefits the Suffolk Humane Society and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, which serves all of the Southside of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

Shores said there are collection boxes at eight locations in North Suffolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake and at the Foodbank in Norfolk for people to give items.

Items are being accepted at the different sites from today until Nov. 30.

“There are a lot of people out there right now whose families are hurting and a lot of animals who have been abandoned,” she said. “If you’re in a position to do a little something to help somebody else I think they’ll feel better this holiday season.”

Kay Hurley, the director of community outreach for Suffolk Humane, said she is touched by what Shores and her family are doing.

“I just cannot fathom their grief, and the fact they are trying to do something for others is just amazing,” she said. “I think it’s a truly beautiful thing.”

Hurley said this year, the drive is very timely for the group because it is preparing to move into its new office and needs a lot of things for the new space.

“The timing is wonderful for us and just couldn’t be better,” she said.

Like Hurley, Abigail Weber, the food and fund drive coordinator for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, said she was impressed by Shores’ initiative to turn a tragedy into something positive, and she is glad she is continuing it this year.

“I was definitely excited to hear she was doing it again this year and expanding it,” Weber said. “We have such a great need in our community. Anything that somebody can do means a lot to us.”

The North Suffolk sites participating include Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy, The Market at Eclipse, and the El Burrito Mexican restaurant on Bridge Road, as well as the El Burrito in Carrollton.

In Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Centenary United Methodist Church, Armory’s Seafood Restaurant, Mario’s Classic Italiano and Tidewater Studio for the Arts will collect donations.

“It’s such a good reflection on Hunter and who he was,” Shores said. “This is a way to keep his memory alive.”

For more information, contact Kathy Shores at 692-4188.

The Foodbank is looking to collect non-perishable food in non-breakable containers, including:

  • Peanut butter
  • Tuna
  • Canned ham
  • Canned chicken
  • Beans
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Applesauce
  • 100-percent fruit juice
  • Instant potatoes
  • Fruit preserves
  • Dried fruit
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Pasta and sauce
  • Boxed meals
  • Chunky soups
  • Stews
  • Powdered formula
  • Baby food
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes

The Suffolk Humane Society needs the following items:

  • Purina Pro Chicken and Rice Kitten Food
  • Purina Pro Chicken and Rice Cat Food
  • Purina Pro Plan canned kitten food
  • Kitten Milk Replacement Powdered Formula
  • Powered puppy formula
  • Dog Treats
  • Cat carriers
  • Collapsible style dog crates
  • Water bottles for cat cages
  • Cat and dog toys
  • Cat scratching posts
  • Cat grooming combs, brushes, rakes
  • Breakaway style cat collars
  • Dog collars and leashes, especially for small and medium dogs
  • Tidy Cat litter (clumping style)
  • Laundry detergent (scent-free)
  • Bleach
  • Hand sanitizer and wipes
  • Used blankets and towels

Suffolk Humane needs these items for its new office:

  • Desk
  • Desk chair
  • Folding chairs
  • Two six-foot tables
  • Heavy-duty washer/dryer
  • Cat tower
  • File cabinets
  • Printer stand
  • Wastebaskets
  • Gift certificates to JoAnn fabrics for material for curtains