Nonprofit dedicates food drive to young flooding victim


A food pantry at the Boyertown Area Multi-Service was an important part of a young boy's life, a life cut short last week by flash flooding.

"I think that's what stood out to us the most was having an 8-year-old come in, bringing over 45 pounds of food to us and just having the passion for serving others," said Lydia Messinger, with Boyertown Area Multi-Service, a nonprofit social service agency.

Last year, Preston Dray organized a food drive for the agency, something officials there never forgot. They couldn't believe when they heard Preston and his mother, Pamela Snyder, who was eight months pregnant, died in a flash flood. The family were in a car on Pine Forge Road in Douglass Township on Thursday when the car was swept into the Manatawny Creek.

"When we heard about everything, we were just so heartbroken and devastated to hear what happened to him and his family," Messinger said.

Preston's efforts had such an impact that he was placed on the agency's promotional advertising. Now, the group is honoring him by organizing "Preston's Pantry Project."

"Everyone wants something good to come from this, and a committee formed seeing our Facebook page from last May, and they decided to do a food drive in his memory," Messinger said.

The post included a handwritten note from Preston, where he talked about helping less fortunate children. Area businesses, like Parks Chiropractic, are putting out boxes in an effort to show support to the family and to the community that Preston loved.

"Everyone knows that sinking feeling, that awful feeling of despair for the family, and when we heard that they were doing a food drive in their honor, we wanted to be a part of that," said Cindy Parks.

Preston and Pamela's families also ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in their memory to Boyertown Area Multi-Service.

Viewings will take place on Thursday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and on Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Colebrookdale Chapel, 2108 Farmington Avenue in Douglass Township. A service will follow at 11 a.m. Friday.