Paying it Forward in Susquehanna Twp, Dauphin County

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A Bishop McDevitt High School senior, who’s making a big difference in her community, was surprised with $200 in this week’s Pay it Forward.

Girl scout troop leader Patty Desmond always knew there was something special about one of her scouts in particular, 18-year-old Rikka Olsen.

“When she set her goals, she knew what she wanted and you just never stop her,” Desmond said.

Rikka’s determination led her to develop “Full Bowls for Furry Souls.”

The program works in conjunction with Meals on Wheels in Dauphin County to provide pet food for low-income senior citizens who struggle to feed themselves and their pets.

Rikka’s hard work earned her the Gold Award, the Girl Scouts’ highest honor.

“She’s a very compassionate person,” Desmond said. “She’s not thinking of herself in any way. I mean this is just a huge need and she’s fulfilling it.”

Desmond and our FOX43 Pay it Forward crew set off to surprise Rikka at Susquehanna Township High School’s track, where she was practicing with her team.

“Rikka Olsen, I’m here with FOX43 because you’re so awesome, and I’m here to present you with $200,” Desmond said.

“This is awesome!” Rikka replied.

Rikka, an animal lover with three horses, four dogs and two cats, couldn’t bear to think of pets going hungry or owners having to give them up.

“I kind of grew up with animals, they’ve been a big part of their life since I was really little,” she said. “So, helping them out, helping people.”

Along with everything Rikka does, she’s aiming high, hoping to expand Full Bowls for Furry Souls to help even more seniors and their animals.

“I want to be able to help everyone and everyone’s pet,” she said. “Make sure that they’re okay and to be a big part of their life is really rewarding for me.”

The pet food for Full Bowls for Furry Souls is donated by the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

It’s currently helping 50 needy seniors and their pets.

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