REIDSVILLE — The granddaughter of two Reidsville couples will hold a backpack food drive for Reidsville and Rockingham County high school students as part of her platform in an upcoming pageant.

The food drive will be Monday, Dec. 31, at Grace Fellowship Church in Reidsville. Items needed include protein bars, dried fruit, peanut butter and other healthy non-perishable food items.

Ashley Leonard, a junior at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines, will compete in the North Carolina Outstanding Teen Competitions pageant Feb. 2 at T. Austin Finch Auditorium in Thomasville.

Her platform is “The School Pantry Project.”

Ashley has collected donations to help middle and high schools in Moore County. She also has collected book bags, school supply items and hygiene products. She plans to collect food items to assist with additional student needs.

Ashley decided to bring her platform project to Rockingham County after her mother, 1985 Reidsville High School graduate Angela Somers Leonard, noticed a friend’s Facebook post requesting donations for the Reidsville Senior High School Backpack Program.

The schools’ backpack programs don’t always meet the needs of high school students and athletes who need more calories, Ashley said. The donations she collects on Jan. 31 will help the schools meet those needs.

Ashley said she is excited to expand her efforts to assist students in her parents’ native Rockingham County.

“You may never know how an act of kindness helped someone, but every child deserves a chance at success,” Ashley said.

Her mother contacted a friend and Grace Fellowship Church member Cindy Jones. She and her husband, Chuck, are coordinating the project locally for Ashley. Also assisting are Todd and Lisa Moore and members of Grace Fellowship Church.

Daughter of Michael and Angela Leonard of Southern Pines, Ashley is the granddaughter of Claude and Shelby Somers and Larry and Edna Leonard of Reidsville. She also is the great-granddaughter of Stella Somers of Reidsville.

Michael, who graduated from Reidsville in 1986, is the golf course superintendent at The Country Club of Whispering Pines. Angela is a speech language pathologist with Moore Pediatric Therapy Services.

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Reidsville native Ann Fish has lived in Eden since 1979. Contact her at annsomersfish@yahoo.com.

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