An Oceanside teenager has raised more than $13,000 during the past two years to help stock the shelves of local food pantries.
Oceanside High School freshman Cory Nichols, 14, purchases food monthly through his nonprofit C the Difference: Cory Cares, and gives it to a pantry operated by St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside. During holiday times, he also supplies food to Oceanside Community Service, he said.
In the charity's most recent effort -- "Halloween for the Hungry Food Drive" -- 20 peers joined forces to collect 600 items for holiday baskets for local families in need. "Halloween is about kids getting candy, so why not give back while we're getting," Nichols said.
"I've far exceeded my expectations," he said of the nonprofit's overall effort. "It's amazing to see people's generosity."
Nichols started C the Difference: Cory Cares in 2012. To attract donations, he promotes his efforts on social media and gives out bracelets bearing the nonprofit's name. He then purchases food for the pantries.
Last year, Nichols was recognized as one of the state's top two youth volunteers in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. He recently won a Kernel of Kindness Award from popcorn company Jolly Time, which included a $1,000 prize.