From left: Preston's Pantry Project planning committee members Brandon Foose, Lindsey Mason, Daphne Benfield, Heather Stehman and Kristin Behre.

Courtesy Preston Pantry Project

Food drive to honor pregnant woman, son who died in car swept away by flood

August 16, 2019 - 4:00 am

By Charlotte Reese 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Last month, a pregnant mother and her 9-year-old son Preston were killed when flash floods ripped through eastern Berks County. Now people in Berks County are coming together to honor them with an annual food drive in Boyertown.

Heather Stehman, a resident of Boyertown, went on Facebook the night of Thursday, July 11, to follow along with local storm damage. She recalls seeing a water rescue of a pregnant mother. 

"Once the story had broke, somebody found the (Facebook) post of when Preston had ran a food drive at his elementary school at Pine Forge in 2018," Stehman said. 

Staff from the Boyertown Multi-Service Center, Stehman and four other volunteers met at the Boyertown Community Park that following Sunday. Together they decided their annual food drive would be known as Preston's Pantry Project, in honor of Preston, his mom Pam, and the unborn baby Evelynn Rose. 

Related: Pregnant woman, son dead after car swept away by floodwaters

Location site at Green Lane Boat and Kayak Rental
Courtesy Preston Pantry Project
"We put together a plan of how can we make Preston's Pantry Project something that can help the community heal," she said.

Stehman says the community's response was something she has never seen before. 

"We had originally (been) like, 'Oh, maybe we'll get 25 locations and that should be good.' And then, within 48 hours, we had over 100 locations and people just asking 'How can I help? Can we volunteer at a store? What can we do just to help?'" Stehman said.

Preston's Pantry Project now has more than 250 collection sites. Donations will be accepted through Aug. 18. 

"And then if you're not local, we are recommending you support the local pantry in the community that you live, in honor of Preston," she said.

Their Facebook page has a list of collection sites. The family has asked organizers of the fundraiser to not use their last name.