The Brightside: Local woman dedicates life towards helping others

FRUITLAND, Md. – During the COVID-19 pandemic, all sorts of hometown heroes have emerged. If you live in the Salisbury area, you may have heard Deborah Ritterson’s name. Ritterson is the Founder of the Kindness Box, something that helps feed the hungry.

“I’ve had a few days where I filled it three times. As fast as I put things out there, it’s going, which is heartbreaking, but it’s a lifeline to so many,” Ritterson explained.

Ritterson started her Kindness Box about a year ago in honor of a very special someone.

“I started it because I wanted to do something to honor my late father,” she said.

Ritterson says her dad was always very into paying it forward, so she felt she needed to give back in some way to keep his legacy alive.

Ritterson said, “I kept seeing these little lending libraries throughout the country and I thought maybe instead of putting books, to use food.”

Nowadays, Ritterson keeps the box stocked with food for people to enjoy with a little help from others who also want to pay it forward.

“It’s so inspiring to see people willing to lend a helping hand,” Ritterson said.

This isn’t the only thing Ritterson does to help others though. She’s also helped to raise money for Denny Mogan, owner of Mogan’s Oyster House, who was diagnosed with ALS.

Ritterson said, “I had the idea at the beginning of summer to do a produce stand in my front yard and boy, it took off like crazy. We raised over $622.”

She’s also part of a group called Mom Mom Militia, which aims to deliver boxes of food to those in need.

“I’m still doing a box or two a week. Someone will now text me and say ‘So and so is a senior, give me their address and phone number and I’ll set up a box.'”

On top of all that, Ritterson is currently accepting donations of Christmas gifts, which she will then give to families in need this holiday season.

Even though Ritterson has only lived in the Fruitland area for a few years now, she’s done more for the community than anyone could’ve imaged possible. Looking towards the future, Ritterson says she just hopes to continue making her dad proud.

“Just feel like his spirit is telling me do a little bit more,” she said.

If you would like to donate a gift to Ritterson or you’d like to take advantage of her Kindness Box, you can visit 413 Hayward Avenue in Fruitland.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Ritterson on Facebook by clicking here.

Categories: Brightside, Local News, Maryland