HENRY COUNTY, VA – Meet 16-year-old Griffin Phillips.
“I'm a sophomore at Harrisonburg High School. I'm a ROTC cadet, a major within that program, and also a private pilot. I'm working to currently earn my private pilot's license.”
Phillips and his instructor, Cindy Ferek, flew 450 pounds of food to the Blue Ridge Regional Airport for the Henry County Food Pantry on Tuesday morning.
“We do recognize that with the size of our plane, we fly a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, we don't have as much space. But the time that it took to get down here was an hour and a half to fly more than one hundred miles. It's really just time efficiency that's our biggest advantage that we have in aviation,” he explained.
After coming upon a similar situation, Phillips decided to start an organization that flies food donations across Virginia.
“We decided how can we use our services to the most effective means possible. Food was something that we were able to source relatively inexpensively within in the community and create a supply network for a lot of the food banks in the more remote parts of the state,” he stated.
Phillips says the experience has been beneficial for his future goals.
“It's really helpful because of the career that I want to go into. I want to be a Marine Corps pilot in my future. I want to hopefully earn a ROTC scholarship to go through that program,” Phillips said.
He plans to continue collecting food and giving back even after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We see aviation as more of a ministry and less of a hobby, so if we can serve people while we're flying that's really just a win, win,” Phillips stated.
Food donations are accepted in the Harrisonburg area, but anyone can contribute with financial donations.
To do so, contact Phillips through the organization's Instagram, @OperationAirFeed.