Elist distributes bags to friends, neighbors and classmates and asks them to fill them up with recyclables. He collects them, turns them in to get the CRV money and uses the funds to replenish a local food bank.
"At the food bank, the shelves are running low on food and you bring a cart of food and they start stacking up again," said Elist. "It's an amazing feeling when you see there is more food for people to eat."
A sophomore at Harvard Westlake High School, Elist started the project on his own but he's getting other students to join in.
"They can either donate the food themselves or give me the money. I'll buy the food and donate it in the name of the school."
He hopes to start a partnership with the school to directly incorporate the entire student body.
Elist is planning to pursue a career in the business world, but he has no intention of giving up his commitment to community service.
"Hopefully I'll be fortunate enough to continue community service around the world. I'll be able to help the less fortunate than I am and with business maybe I can incorporate that and find a way in the future."