Teen with autism, biker club team up for cereal drive to help kids this summer

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At a food pantry at the Blessed Hope Church in Lincoln Park and at the Shielded Souls Motorcycle Club in New Boston, they are talking about breakfast.

More specifically, they are talking cereal.

"Cereal, I cannot keep cereal on the shelves," said Chrystal Schippling.

Schippling is the associate pastor at Blessed Hope. She says even though the schools there still feed kids during the summer - people really need their help. On average the pantry helps feed 400 families a month.

"We have folks that get a whopping $14 a month in food stamps - so we are key towards helping them," said Schippling.

Which brings us back to the Shielded Souls Motorcycle Club - where Dillon Marshall was given $150 to help with his cereal drive.

"I want to help the kids that don't have cereal in the morning or breakfast," Marshall said.

Dillon is 17 years old, he plays drums and works at a pet store. And now he's organizing a cereal drive for Blessed Hope and other downriver food pantries.

This is his second year collecting thousands of boxes of cereal. Impressive for anyone, but for Dillon who has autism, it's pretty awesome.

"It makes me feel very proud of myself," he said. 

"Just because you have autism doesn't mean you can't do it," said Homer Alley, Jr.

Homer Alley Jr. should know - he's Dillon's step-dad and they're part of and partnering with Shielded Souls to get as many boxes of cereal as they can.

"What we want to do more than anything is help other people," said Gene Price AKA 'Pops'. "We're not your stereotypical motorcycle club - although some of them look like it, but they're not."

They are just burly guys with big hearts, and women with a passion for helping those in need - so it makes sense to partner with a teen with autism whose road name is, "Can Do."

"Dillon is what we are, what we represent to help other people," Price said.

People like the children Dillon wants to help, which brings us back full circle to the food pantry.

"If you can pick up an extra can of soup, if you can pick up an extra box of macaroni and cheese - or a jar of peanut butter, someone you know in your neighborhood needs that," said Schippling.

Or if you can pick up a box of cereal, well, someone needs that, too.

"I'm very thankful for all the people that donate cereal," Dillon said.

"It's exciting," Schippling said. "And it will be gone by the end of the summer. We are so grateful."

Drop-off locations:

Donations can be dropped off until June 30 at 1335 Richmond Ave, Lincoln Park Shielded Souls 21038 Middle Belt Road, New Boston Tuesdays after 6 p.m. June 15 after 3 p.m. 

They also can be dropped off at 5474 W. Jefferson in Trenton every Friday after 6 p.m.