BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Eric Shanteau wants to buy a pizza for every member of Maumee High School’s Class of 2020.
“I knew I wanted to do something for the community and especially for the kids because I feel for them,” he said.
Shanteau is a 1996 graduate of MHS and said that his positive high school experience, especially his senior year, prompted him to take action in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has stifled so many end-of-the-year experiences for this year’s graduating class.
In an effort to cheer seniors up a bit with a pizza pie, Shanteau put out a plea on social media to raise money for the purchase; and in a short amount of time, donations began pouring in. Initially, Shanteau planned to raise $2,020, which would easily cover one large pizza for all 173 students in the graduating class, but with more than 100 people donating, that goal was quickly surpassed.
“It just took off,” he said. “Before I knew it, we were at $3,000.”
Shanteau teamed up with Angela Nuhfer of PizzAroma and Jason Mendelsohn of Jacky’s Depot for the giveaway, which includes a gift card for one large pizza with choice of toppings and cheesy bread along with a $5.00 gift card to Jacky’s Depot, so students can enjoy homemade ice cream as well. The students will be mailed the gift cards.
“I know this doesn’t make up for what they are going through, but if we can put a smile on their face, that’s what this is all about,” Shanteau said.
A portion of the money raised will also be donated to the MHS Andy Bates and Atul Rawat scholarship fund.
“They were two of my friends who passed away the day after graduation, so in the back of my mind, that had an impact on my reaching out to them (Class of 2020). Being able to contribute to that fund and still help the seniors is a no-brainer,” Shanteau said.
Shanteau is no stranger to helping others in need. On his birthday, which fell on March 25, he asked his friends and family to donate to an online fundraiser that he created to assist single mothers working at Dale’s Bar & Grill in uptown Maumee. The fundraiser generated $500.
“I wanted to help them because there are a lot of single moms who work there. It would go toward them and their children to help buy groceries or something like that,” he said.
Two weeks later, Shanteau donned a bear costume in an effort to raise money for families in the area struggling because of the virus. That fundraiser generated over $1,300, allowing Shanteau to give $100 in gift cards to 13 local families in need.
Although the pandemic has forced Shanteau and his wife out of their jobs – she is a dental hygienist and he is a graphic artist – Shanteau believes that there are many others who are in a more difficult situation.
“I know that people are struggling worse than us and if we have the opportunity to help out, that’s what we wanted to do. It’s been surprising to me to see how generous people are,” he said.