Hunger Action Month 2020!!!!!!

Look at these hunger warriors!

As the weather continues to get colder and colder and the colorful leaves fall to the ground, I am so excited about how this year’s Hunger Action Month went. September was full of socially distant inspiration, empowerment, and togetherness.

Throughout the month, I had a blast partnering with the New Hampshire Food Bank for a fundraising initiative called “Tag Out Hunger”. This was a fun way to get everyone involved in the fight against food insecurity, raise awareness about the relevance of the issue, and show support to neighbors who may be struggling. It all starts with a sign, and to tag someone all you had to do was stick the sign in their yard and then it was their turn! On the sign, they would find a challenge to share a photo with their Tag Out Hunger sign to social media in order to spread the message, donate to the New Hampshire Food Bank to provide meals to fellow New Hampshirites, and then pass it along to the next person!

Tag Out Hunger not only raised tons of money for the New Hampshire Food Bank and spread awareness throughout the state, but it created a ripple effect of empathy and community during a time that can feel rather cold. All month long, everyone came together with one common goal… to end food insecurity. As September days continued to pass, it was amazing to witness the strength of this movement grow with each new household it reached.

Along with Tagging my friends throughout the state, I have been busy as ever not only fulfilling my purpose of doing to make sure no one has to go without dinner, but empowering others to do the same.

Leadership does not come from a person’s power, it comes from their ability to empower those around them.

John Maxwell

Seeds of Hope’s motto is, “From the smallest of Seeds grow the mightiest of trees”, because changing the world comes from tackling the biggest issues with one little act of hope at a time. The JFK Food Drop has become the hotspot of this compassion, and each week I have been aiming to bring a new team of volunteers with me to further prove what I have believed all along; that we are the generation of change. Gen-Z is not the future, we are the now, and seeing an army of advocates form over the course of Hunger Action Month 2020 has solidified this!

This month, I was honored with a place on the George H.W. Bush Inspiration Honor Roll. As exciting as it was to join other change-makers of all ages from around the world to celebrate the successes my dedication to food insecurity has brought, what has filled my heart has been seeing the state come together to help out those in need. I will never forget the ripple of strength that turned into an entire wave as the group beside me fighting hunger grew exponentially. (see the Press tab for more on the George H.W. Bush Award)

September is always very special and this year and I am so proud of the strides we made against these unprecedented levels of food insecurity. I know that we will carry this same enthusiasm and hope in the coming months as the fight against hunger continues, one meal at a time!

Spreading kindness on NH’s 48 4,000 footers

I have always loved my state and our White Mountains will forever be one of my all time favorite places. Are you really a New Hampshirite if you don’t dream of hiking the 48 4,000 footers? I am well on my way to that New Hampshire dream!

If you’re going to do it, you have to do it right! Of course I couldn’t hike to the Granite State’s tallest points without leaving my mark and sharing a smile with whoever is brave enough to try it out next. If that means waking up at 3 am and hiking ten miles with a backpack full of rocks, then thats exactly what I am going to do! Kindness is rippling through my state from the tallest peaks up north all the way to the seacoast with #KindnessRocks everywhere!

There have been many up and downs (haha, get it!?) including 45 mile per hour winds on the top of Mount Jefferson that had us crawling the ridge on all fours to the next peak at Mount Lafayette, but its been so amazing to take in our gorgeous state with my awesome friends! So far 10/48, lots more to go but I am off to a strong start!

Why did the Duck cross the Exeter River?

To win 1,003 dollars! Its fall, so you know what that means! Duck sales for the Annual Exeter duck race are in full force! It has been great to be out in the community these past few weeks getting excited for every Exonian’s favorite event of the year… and all to help local kids.

I have had the honor of working with the Community Children’s fund for quite a few years now and I always look forward to sporting my yellow and cheering for the ducks as they race down the river. It has become my job to emcee the race each year, and thanks to that role, I forever have a hundred duck jokes imprinted in my brain. For the pleasure of hearing some of them, contact me to buy your quack pack and help provide local families with warm winter gear. You and your duck could be the lucky winners of over 1,000 dollars!

Although this year’s virtual format is very different than what we are used to, the meaning behind the race will remain the same and have an even greater importance. More families than ever before are in need this year, and not only will the duck race provide for our neighbors in need, but it will be a great opportunity for us to come together as a community to remember the hope and compassion that has only grown through these unprecedented times. Contact me to buy your duck!

Giving back to the community with Triple Elm Cafe

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, my summer did not unfold quite the way I expected it to. I had planned on many busy days serving the Granite State as Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen and even traveling down to Orlando to compete on the national stage with new friends from around the country. After all of that was suddenly put on hold, I found myself with an unusual amount of “free” time and instantly began planning how I could fill it up.

One of the ideas I thought of was to get my first paying job. Although I wouldn’t consider it my first job after running a non-profit and being a representative for MAOTeen, I began working at a coffee shop and ice cream parlor down the street from my house. Whether I was scooping a sundae or brewing an americano, I was so happy to still be out in my community all summer despite these unexpected circumstances.

I had a great summer working at Triple Elm, but nothing could ever distract me from my true passion and purpose to help end food insecurity everywhere. Immediately after getting hired, I began negotiating a promotion for customers to get a discount off their order when they bring in a donation for the food pantry. Soup kitchens and food banks are struggling more than ever to keep up with the unprecedented need that the pandemic has caused. Within just a few days, our donation box was full.

It became routine for the boxes to fill up just in time for my weekly trip to the food pantry. And every week, there even seemed to be a little more.

We also established a new pairing for my Win-Win initiative, which connects local restaurants throughout New Hampshire with organizations like food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in their area where they can donate their left over food. Triple Elm donated dozens of bagels to the Sandown Food Pantry and will continue to do so with other unsold food, thanks to the federal Bill Emerson Food Donation Act.

Over the weekend, I worked my last shift as summer has all of a sudden come to an end and it’s time for me to refocus back on school. It was my last time dropping off boxes of food at the pantry as an employee, although I know it won’t be long until I am back. I won’t be working at Triple Elm anymore, but you can STILL bring a donation for the food pantry for 10% off your order. Every bit helps!

Princess Camp from Home

I have attended quite a few virtual events these past few months, but this one just might be my favorite. It is no surprise because Princess week is ALWAYS the best time ever and even though the circumstances weren’t exactly ideal, we really had a great time!

I’ve been studying News Writing at the Ohio University so I came a little late after a class, but I jumped right in to a conversation about building a platform. It was awesome to hear all the girls innovative ideas to take initiative and make a difference in the world!

Then, I got to lead the girls in a craft. We all planted our own personal vegetable gardens! On the eve of Princess Camp, my mom and I made special deliveries to all the girls with bags of goodies. There were some Seeds of Hope gear, Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen swag, and the supplies for the craft!

During this activity, I asked who has been told they can’t do something; that they’re too young or their dreams are just too big. Every single person on the Zoom call raised their hand. These girls some as young as 5 already know that feeling. By planting our Seeds, we learned that it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, where you’re from or anything in between, you have the power to change the world. I told them that the next time someone makes them feel small again, all they need to do is look outside at the giant trees and remember how small they were when they were just seeds.

From the smallest of seeds grow the mightiest of trees.

The Show Must Go On!

It’s no secret- quarantine is HARD. It really feels like we went from zero to one hundred and woke up one day locked inside. I am so lucky that throughout the entire experience, I still had the thing that keeps me sane.

I began coming to the dance studio to help teach some Zoom classes in the end of March, but it wasn’t until June that we were able to dance together again. And when that day came… wow was it different than the last time we saw each other!

I found myself spending pretty much everyday there, when I wasn’t dancing I was in the parking lot asking other students: “Have you been in close contact with anyone with the virus? Has there been any fevers in the household in the last 72 hours? Any muscle aches or chills? Any new respiratory symptoms? A change in sense of taste or smell? Did you take your temperature before you came?” I still have them memorized!

We had to stay 6 feet apart the entire time. This called for lots of changes to choreography in a very short amount of time to prepare for the recital we had in the end of the month.

Through it all, I have really found a new understanding and appreciation for my passion. Held outdoors, masks worn, and even with new choreography guidelines, this year’s recital was one for the books! It all worked out perfectly and ended up being a fun, low-stress family evening! I even tried my hand to choreography for the first time ever and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it! I put together a duo just for fun and ended up getting to perform it onstage, which is something I never thought I would get to do! Who knows, maybe it was the first of many!

Where it’s always Just For Fun!

New Hampshire’s very own Canobie Lake Park is opening Thursday and although the summer tradition might look a lot different this year, it’s still going to be the center of summer family memories!

Tuesday was the amusement park’s pre-opening day exclusive for friends and family as a practice run employees to test out their new social distancing protocol. I was so excited when I was invited to attend but I instantly knew it was the PERFECT opportunity for some safe sister fun!

Some of the Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen class of 2020 joined me as we explored the park ALL day, rode every single ride, shared many laughs, and made some great memories. We had such an awesome time together.

Not to get too cheesy, but really these girls inspire me to do all I can to be a good leader through the title of Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen. I am so lucky to have so many amazing girls to call my sisters and it is my mission to represent even a portion of our intelligence, strength, talent, and compassion! Our Canobie trip was a great day for all of us to stay connected after only seeing each other through the screen for so long and I can’t want for many more safe get togethers!

Thank you SO much to Canobie Lake Park for hosting us and giving us such a great day! We all had a blast. Don’t miss Canobie’s grand opening, they did a great job at maintaining CDC guidelines for a comfortable experience for everyone!

Join me at the JFK Coliseum

Almost every Saturday morning, you can find me in the parking lot of the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, working hard rain or shine!

As a representative of the New Hampshire Food Bank, I’ve partnered with the organization Food For Children to make sure that every local family has access to their right to adequate food, no matter what.

Our morning starts by unloading the donations, which come directly from grocery stores throughout the state, and then we begin sorting them. We organize and pretty much set up our own little grocery store! Anywhere from 150-400 families come through each week to pick up whatever it is they need.

This really is one of my favorite things to do because I have been able to build relationships with the people who my efforts are helping. As great as it is to raise thousands of dollars or collect tons of cans, there is nothing like the face to face interaction we experience here at the Food Drop. I always look forward to starting off my weekend catching up with the friends I have made over the past year of volunteering for them.

If you are looking for some service hours, an eye-opening experience right here in the Granite State, or just something fulfilling to do, this is it! We have such a blast and it is truly life changing to be able to work so closely with the beneficiaries of your service. I go whenever I can, and would absolutely love for you to join me! Every single Saturday, from 8:30-12:30 (ish) at the JFK Coliseum in Manchester, New Hampshire. Rain, shine, snow, sleet, we’ve seen it all! Hunger takes no vacation so holidays do not affect our schedule. No sign up ahead of time required! Hope to see you soon!

Pampered Chef for Feeding America

Ordering super cool kitchen tools AND helping food pantries across the country? How could you possibly refuse? I recently concluded an awesome fundraiser for Feeding America that I was so happy to be able to partner up with a Pampered Chef consultant to really make an impact on a local and national level.

Prior to the pandemic, 821 million people were estimated to be food insecure. This already alarming number has since sky-rocketed as families who have never struggled suddenly find themselves worrying about paying the bills and affording weekly groceries.

After two super short weeks, we were able to raise hundreds of dollars for food banks across the country that are now experiencing an unprecedented need while also still relying on the generosity of the community to stock their shelves.

This is a tough time for all of us, but I know that together we will not only get through the pandemic, but come out stronger! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser, you made a real impact and got some great new kitchen tools at the same time!

Derry Community Connection

A few weeks ago, I got to spread some Hope to the Derry Community! I was so honored to join the Derry TV for an episode of Community Connection, which is all about keeping the community connected in the midst of a pandemic. (Hence the name!)

I talked about the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Organization, #KindnessRocks, Seeds of Hope, my normal day to day quarantine life and so much more!

It will be aired soon, so you won’t want to miss it! Stay tuned and set your DVR!