Koleman Kroesser, 17, loads up the back of his car with goods he plans to donate to the Richmond Food Pantry. Submitted by Jennifer French Kroesser

RICHMOND — At first glance, Koleman Kroesser is a regular teenager – he’s on the soccer and basketball teams, he’s involved with the Key Club and National Honor Society, and while doing that, he’s starting to apply to colleges in the Boston area to study engineering.

But considering that through the high school senior’s busy schedule, Kroesser, 17, volunteers his free time at the Richmond Food Pantry, it’s clear to see there’s more than meets the eye.

Kroesser has a goal this season to donate 3,000 pounds of food by the end of the year – and he is close to reaching it. What started as a routine donation for Kroesser turned into a desire to see how far he could go.

His grandmother, Janice Nelson Kroesser, the former owner of Washington Manor, a boarding home in Washington, died in the spring and his grandfather, Ken Kroesser, asked Kroesser to help him find a place to donate the leftover food as they sorted the manor’s pantry.

As an avid volunteer at the Richmond Food Pantry, he knew what to do, and seven to 10 trips later in his car from Washington to Richmond, he collected around 1,500 pounds of food – so much that the food burst through the back windshield of his car.

“The original idea started the push to get the food donated,” Kroesser explained. “That was a big part of it and probably around 1,500 pounds of food that we got from the Manor alone, and then people who wanted to donate to the pantry.


“We thought, why not continue to 3,000 pounds?”

Kroesser has become a staple of the Richmond Food Pantry since he was in eighth grade.

During the pandemic, when his school year was nearing its end, he looked for something to do in the community, and his mother, Jennifer French Kroesser, suggested the food pantry.

Koleman Kroesser stands at the Richmond Food Pantry with his donations. Kroesser wants to collect and donate 3,000 pounds of food to the pantry before the end of the year. Submitted by Jennifer French Kroesser

Now a senior at Richmond High School, Kroesser’s impact has become so great to the pantry that in one year he was able to supply the pantry’s goods for an entire season, said the pantry’s coordinator, Susan Grant. Kroesser has helped other people get involved in donating their time, too, Grant said.

Kroesser regularly uses social media to reach out to ask people in the community for donations of either supplies the pantry can use, or money that he can then use to purchase the items to donate.

“Young people like Kole give you hope for this world,” Grant said. “I know that sounds saccharine, but to know him is to feel that way.”


The Richmond Food Pantry opens twice a month for people in the community to grab what they need – meat, paper towels, bread, canned goods, among other household staples for people to grab and fill their car as they need it.

Kroesser said in the four years he has spent with the pantry, he has seen the need within the community increase. To put it tangibly, when he first started, around 30 families relied on the pantry and now the number of families has increased to around 60, he said.

In Maine, on average, one in 10 people face hunger, with one in seven children facing it daily – equating to 144,290 people, 36,490 of them children. Local food banks joined an initiative with the state Legislature to end hunger by 2023.

“It just kind of makes me feel good because when I do volunteer or see the folks come in when I help donate, I can see them using it and able to go home with it,” he said.

As he nears his goal with the current total 2,500 pounds donated since June, he encourages people who want to volunteer to pick up the phone and ask how they can help. That’s what he did with his mother, he said.

“It all started with a phone call. We called Susan (Grant) and asked how we could help and from there, it’s taken off and been a great thing we plan to keep doing,” he said.

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