Food Collection Initiative Raises 1,000 Times Original Goal

Posted: Updated: Nov 19, 2012 09:36 PM EST

Nicole Muller started a food collection initiative called Neighbors-4-Neighbors when she was a 16-year-old Western Albemarle High School student.

Now, three years later, she's continuing her efforts at the University of Virginia and Neighbors-4-Neighbors has just hit a major milestone.

Three years ago, Muller set out to raise 500 pounds of food. Now, she's raised 500,000, and her work has helped people across the country put food on the table.

Neighbors-4-Neighbors has collected food for food banks in all 50 states. Muller does two food drives a year in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. She also reaches out to people across the country through an email campaign and encourages them to donate to their local food banks in the name of Neighbors-4-Neighbors.

In 2010, Muller told NBC29, "It's awesome. They have been really generous, everyone has."

She says the growth of Neighbors-4-Neighbors since then has been shocking.

"I've gotten such a good response from people all over, even from people who don't know me. It seems like people are willing to help if you just give them a little push," said Muller.

The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank says Muller has had an enormous impact on the community.

"We here at the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank have been the beneficiary of about 50,000 pounds of food which translates to 200,000 meals," said Larry Zippin, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

Using that logic, Muller's half-million pounds have provided 2 million meals across the country, and she's not slowing down. Muller says she wants to continue her food drive efforts after college, whether as a career or a hobby.

"I think it would be awesome to get to the million mark," said Muller.

To find out how you can donate, email naybors4naybors@gmail.com.