I decided I needed to do something to help people dealing with hunger and food insecurity when I was just seven years old. After an eye opening experience, I visited my local soup kitchen to see how I could make a difference, but was turned away because I was too young to serve and told to try again in a few years. I’ve always been pretty good at setting my mind to something and doing whatever it takes to get it done but I remember something inside me refusing to give up, I knew I had to help in however I could, even in the smallest way. I went home and gathered a few friends and some markers, and we decorated piles of placemats with colorful drawings and positive messages which were later brought to the soup kitchen where they served the purpose of brighting the days of people who needed a smile most.
Since then, I have dedicated myself to the issue and I will say I am genuinely more proud of my service to end hunger than I am of any other accomplishment. I have made this more than a hobby, passion, or platform, but I have made it my purpose. After countless food drives, pantry shelf stocking, backpack stuffing, and so much more, I still craved making my impact bigger. Thus came my international non-profit, Seeds of Hope.
Of course Seeds of Hope is about ending hunger, but that is not all. That experience when I was seven stays with me everyday, and inspired the other half of my organization’s mission. Metaphorically, any tiny seed will soon be a mighty tree or beautiful flower, which expresses the power that each and every one of us hold to change the world. I believe that no matter who you are, where you’re from, how old you are, or what you have, you CAN make a difference and Seeds of Hope is all about sharing that.
I serve globally, and it is an incredible feeling that is absolutely indescribable to know that children and families in places like Haiti and Pakistan are benefiting from my efforts. However, just like a rooted seed, I will never forget where my drive comes from nor will I lose my ambition to alleviate the food insecurity crisis right here in our own neighborhoods. Food insecurity really is everywhere, closer than we may think and I can promise you that someone you know is struggling to decide what will have to go in order to put food on the table this month.
Since November, I have been working closely with the very soup kitchen where I began this journey. I wanted to bring the empowerment I felt as a young girl that first time I made a difference in my community to fellow leaders. After lots of long preparation, I was finally able to dedicate a student council meeting to creating placemats for the soup kitchen. All sixty of Pinkerton Academy’s student leaders decorated beautiful placemats with messages affirming the Seeds of Hope mission and proving how simple it is to create change.
This was a full circle moment for me and it really sunk in thinking how proud that seven year old I once was would be to see who she is today. I will never stop being utterly thankful for all I experience and gain through my purpose to serve, and my goal and strive for a world free of hunger will preserve longer than anything else.