BY STEPHANIE SIDAK
A group of local Realtors from Ryan Hill Realty were in the Easter spirit on Good Friday, when they donated over 1,500 pounds of food to the Loaves and Fishes food pantry in Naperville. The mix of food, which included everything from boxed pasta and cereal to canned soup, totaled 1,505 pounds, according to Jack Persin, managing broker of Naperville-based Ryan Hill Realty. Persin says this tremendous feat was achieved by a handful of Realtors who felt inspired to do something charitable after returning from a trip to help rebuild a Mississippi community that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. To begin their project, the team scouted local businesses and community centers to serve as drop off locations. They then set up collection boxes marked with a Ryan Hill logo and explanation of their mission. The agents would periodically check these boxes, bringing any donated items to the central staging area located at the Ryan Hill office. Several local businesses donated to the food collection project, and the park district and representatives from the city also got involved. The biggest contributor to the cause was Casey Foods, who filled a pickup truck with over 300 pounds of donation items. The local media did their part by providing coverage of the food drive, and for additional exposure the agents wrote an editorial about their project. Realtor Kelley Schwartz served as the chairperson of the committee, with colleagues Rose McMahon, Jackie Thurlby, Kristen Jungles and Katie Navratil rounding out the team. Schwartz, along with Rick Sandberg and other Ryan Hill Realtors, delivered the collection to Loaves and Fishes on April 10, which was Good Friday.