Community Gem: Freda Patterson helps kids and those in need in Riverside

RIVERSIDE — Freda Patterson has run an Easter Egg hunt for 100 kids at Overlook in Riverside, a Halloween “Trunk or Treat” that drew close to 300 kids, and a community holiday decoration contest, featuring prizes that Patterson solicited from local donors.

She also helps with city trash clean-up days, but her big recent effort was installing a free “blessing box” mini food pantry in her front yard for people in need.

Patterson checks the box for restocking before she goes to work, and many people have provided donations. She thanked Stebbins High School’s construction program for building it.

“Some people don’t want others to know their circumstances, but most of us have been (in need) at one time or another,” Patterson said. “People like to come at night … but I’ve had some knock on my door to say thanks.”

Patterson keeps finding new ways to make Riverside a more vibrant place and to offer help to people in need.

She was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Steve Gaby.

“She’s done a great job of bringing the community together, and just doing great things for the kids and adults of Overlook Homes and all of Riverside,” Gaby said.

Patterson is in the process of creating a nonprofit organization called Project Riverside, as she aims to expand her community improvement efforts.

“I think we’re up to 38 members in it. I’m getting ready to fill out the (nonprofit) paperwork and submit it to the state,” Patterson said. “I just want to help wherever possible.”

In the meantime, she’s helping plan another event — an Aug. 14 back-to-school jubilee with games, food, prizes and school supplies for the kids.

“What she does is above and beyond,” Gaby said. “She just stands out. We need more people like that, that’s for sure.”

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