John Richardson packs boxes in the St. Louis Area Foodbank Volunteer Center / Photo by Bethany Prange

Last Friday, many St. Louisans left work early or watched the clock, itching to start their Memorial Day weekends as soon as their feet hit the parking lot.

But here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank, one young man patiently loaded canned goods into boxes headed for families in need.  Dedicated to his task, he seemed almost unaware of the festivities of the impending holiday weekend.

Friday was John Richardson’s first time volunteering at the Foodbank. A job developer with Life Skills, Richardson started his holiday by mentoring a young client who was here to refine his skills.

Despite the gorgeous sunny day, Richardson enjoyed the opportunity to help others. To him, it was a perfect way to honor the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Just a year ago, Richardson was in Afghanistan, serving a 10-month tour with the Army. For this soldier and so many like him, Memorial Day holds a special significance.

    Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank