Most nonprofits start with dedicated people and an idea that just won’t go away. Such is the case of our nonprofit. However, River Sprouts’ history is a bit more…unconventional.
To start, our dream came to be in the mind of Samantha Manoloff, a 3rd grader living in Rocky River. Sam was surprised that people in her own community did not have access to fresh produce. So…this is how our little journey began. Her idea was to help people by providing them with fresh, healthy produce. Her plan finally took root when Samantha sent a letter to our Mayor (without her parents’ knowledge). To say the least, her parents were a bit surprised to find that their 3rd grader tried to start a nonprofit. This organization began growing as Samantha implanted her ideas into her friend’s minds.
Before Middle School, River Sprouts was a group of driven young girls, determined to help the people around us. We wanted to build a greenhouse because that allowed us to grow produce year round that was truly fresh and good. To build a greenhouse though, we needed money. By the time our little selves were in 6th grade, we had already planned our first fundraiser. Our garden party was a big success that helped get us going.
With the help of generous donations, grants from organizations like First Energy and the Rotary Club, and a few of our own homegrown fundraisers, our dream sprouted.
When we were in the 7th grade, we received a permit and our greenhouse was built! From there, we started growing, but it wasn’t as easy as we thought.
Over time through trial and error (and a lot of effort), our plots flourished and we learned how to grow food successfully, donating our locally grown produce to the Rocky River Assistance Program. The program then takes food from us and distributes it to families in need! With this, we also occasionally go to homebound seniors’ houses and provide them with plates of fresh produce.
Today, we are high school students providing food for our seniors and families in need and hope to get other people and groups involved.