The Stamp Out Hunger Food national food drive was… you guessed it… yet another huge success! I love to see how each year, the amount of food collected gets higher and higher. It is always incredibly humbling to see our country all come together as one to help out our neighbors in need. One of the best parts about the Stamp Out Hunger food drive is although it is all across America, your donations are sure to stay local! No matter where you are, all you have to do is put your non perishables out by the mailbox, and your letter carrier will deliver them directly to the food pantry, shelter, or soup kitchen in your own community! Another cool thing about this year’s food drive was thanks to some super awesome programs I’ve been blessed to be a part of, like the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organization, I got to encourage my friends from all over the country to contribute! Every can helps, after all!
Saturday was Comcast Cares Day, a day organized by the communication provider, where all Comcast locations across America spend the day doing something to improve their community. It is a nationwide event of giving back. This year, like many years in the past, the New Hampshire Food Bank was partnering with my local Comcast to refurbish the community garden, where the majority of the Food Bank’s produce is from. It was an honor to have the opportunity to lend my hand. I woke up bright and early, so excited for yet another chance to do my part in defeating the hunger epidemic of our state, and plant even more Seeds of Hope. After lots and lots… and lots of hard work, the garden looks absolutely beautiful! I also had a wonderful time working with the children of the employees who attended, together we made flower pots and planted magnolias to hang around the fence of the garden to warn off those pesky animals! I even had the pleasure of celebrating a boy named Chris’ 8th birthday, who opted to spend his special day giving back with us. Chris, and the many other excited kids, are just a small example of why I will always be faithful in my generation. I don’t call us “the generation of change” for nothing! This day was proof that team work really does make the dream work! The awesome employees of Comcast and my fellow volunteers of the NH Food Bank truly did a great job, and I am proud to be a part of this determined bunch of hunger fighters!
There is only so much I can do alone, but with the support of my community, I truly believe we have the power to change the world and end hunger once and for all. I am soooo excited about one of my many new projects, a very exciting local food drive! I have partnered with lots of local business owners to promote not only Seeds of Hope and the hunger crisis, but also their businesses! Coco Early Associates recently reached out to me as they had heard me tell my story and speak about my organization. I was so humbled to hear the voice over the phone telling me I had inspired them, and asking for my mentorship as they do their part in ending hunger. We then decided to partner and create this massive food drive. I am thrilled to have over 25 business sponsors on this awesome project. The coolest part, is that these sponsors have made it possible for us to give our donors an elaborate and feasible thank you! After giving non-perishables or a ten dollar monetary donation, you can receive a reusable grocery bag full with great goodies from all of those business sponsors. Attached you will find the list of some of the amazing businesses who have given to our drive and also what Seeds of Hope has given to the thank you bags! These bags are stuffed to the brim of deals that I promise you won’t want to miss, all you have to do is help us tackle the hunger crisis! All donations will be kept local as well, filling the shelves of the Hampstead and Sandown Food Pantries.
I always look forward to the annual Stuff The Bus event. One weekend a year, you will find a school bus at every grocery store in the Seacoast. Myself and countless other inspiring volunteers will work long hours to stuff the bus! We ask shoppers as they enter the store to consider donating either monetarily, by purchasing an item off our lengthy “needed items” list, or by buying a prepackaged bag of our necessities! All donations are incredibly valued, as they will be given directly to St. Vincent De Paul food pantry and then distributed to families throughout the summertime, the toughest time for food insecure families.
I am always humbled by the outpouring of kindness and plain support we get from the community when events like this one are held. There is nothing more heartwarming than witnessing first hand so many individuals unite and come together to put an end to such a detrimental problem in their community. I am excited to say all buses were filled (some many times!!!) and the Saint Vincent De Paul food pantry is stalked up for the hard months to come.
It was an honor for me to host a booth at the Hampstead Health Fair recently. I had the most wonderful day speaking to the members of my hometown as well as building some incredible connections. I was grateful, as always, to have the opportunity to promote Seeds of Hope and raise real awareness of the severity of the hunger epidemic facing our very own community. It became very surreal to me when I saw a little girl getting fitted for her free bike helmet before coming over to my booth, as I remember coming to the Health Fair every year with my dad specifically to get my custom helmet. It was an amazing feeling to see my experience come full circle, and reminded me how lucky I am to live in a small town so supportive of all my endeavors.
St. Patty’s Day weekend was quite eventful for me. I spent my Friday on the catwalk (check out my previous update to hear about that fun time!) and Saturday, I was happy to spend the day volunteering at the Manchester Shamrock Shuffle! What was great about this however, was not only was I supporting a generous Miss New Hampshire sponsor, but the official charity of the race was one very near and dear to my heart, the incredible New Hampshire Food Bank! I represented the food bank all morning and was excited to switch gears and volunteer our sponsor with my sister titleholders as many began to show up! Cheering on ten thousand runners got me reminiscing on my days running for our local cross country team, so, I went home that day and signed up to participate in the Shamrock Shuffle the very next day! It was pretty cool to be able to foster the work of two organizations that are important to me in a whole new way. After such a long break from running. it is no secret I was pretty rusty but still, I was proud of myself for giving it my all for such an important cause.
As if strutting my stuff on the runway like a supermodel isn’t cool enough, I got to do so with my friend, Noah, and it was all to make an impact in the community! Pinkerton Academy recently held their annual Catwalk for a Cause event, and I was so honored to have the opportunity to debut my modeling skills! I wore a fun outfit sponsored by TJ Maxx, and it really was an awesome night! The event benefited the Center for Life Management of Derry, and we raised over $2,000 for the mental illness center that helps so many. Personally however, I feel as though the awareness we were able to accumulate that night makes more of an impact than all the money in the world. I was so, so grateful to take part in breaking the stigma, and making sure everyone knows that it’s okay to not be okay. Another thing that made that evening so wonderful was being escorted down the runway by Noah, a student I have become friends with through my peer to peer mentor group, Just Like Us, where I connect to students with special needs. Noah was a quite the crowd pleaser, he truly stole the show and the hearts of everyone in the audience with his impressive dance moves and remarkable style on that stage! Watch the video of our walk below, and also see some resources for anyone struggling with mental illness.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Substance Abuse
- Depression 1-630-482-9696
- Eating Disorder 1-874-831-3438
- LGBTQ+ Support 1-866-488-7386
National Pancake Day was a huge success! Around the country, miracles were made thanks to IHop and the amazing Children’s Miracle Network! We celebrated the work of this organization with some free pancakes last week. I had a great afternoon volunteering at a local IHop and it was a wholesome reminder of how lucky I am to be an ambassador for an organization so dedicated to nurturing the children who need it. Along with serving some delicious pancakes, I collected donations all to benefit the Boston Children’s Hospital. The kindness was outpouring and as always, I was truly impressed by the generosity of our community… but never surprised!
I always love any opportunity to contribute to the fight against hunger. I’ve made countless friendships that will last forever, gained so much knowledge, and experiences that I will hold in my heart as long as I live. Despite all the growth, it was so nice to return to my roots to help one of the very first organizations I spearheaded a food drive for. Every year, the New Hampshire Food Bank partners with WMUR News 9 to put on one of their biggest events to date. The Steel Chef Challenge is a super exciting competition between only the best chefs of the Granite State. They go head to head to whip up a dish with some unusual ingredients (this year it was Doritos, venison, and sardines!) and the panel of prestigious judges picks who the champion will be. This event was incredibly successful. Selling out, we raised lots of awareness just as well as money to solve the hunger epidemic facing our community. It was one of the best nights and even better considering its cause!
Reflecting on this past weekend has me utterly speechless. I am beyond words as my heart simply overflows with pure joy, gratitude, and excitement! The past eight months have been jam packed with preparations for this single weekend. I truly worked harder than I ever thought possible and the growth I’ve seen within myself speaks to that.
I am going to start off by saying I am thrilled to have placed first runner up to the new Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen, and to have also been awarded overall interview, scholastic achievement, community service, and preliminary onstage question. I still get butterflies thinking of all that, but that’s not what this is about for me.
One of the things I am most proud of as I walk away from the pageant, is the honor I gave to my platform. As many know, I love my platform, Seeds of Hope, more than anything and I was excited to use this competition as a way to do justice for something that means so much to me. I wanted to take each opportunity I found to speak about my platform, but let my successes against the hunger crisis facing our world shine for themselves.
I also want to say that I really believe one of the leading factors in my growth from last year’s competition to this year’s was the confidence I found in myself. Building confidence was one of the fundamentals of my preparations leading up to the big stage. I still have growth to be done in this aspect, but it is evident that the progress is being made. I owe it all to the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program. I found my passion, purpose, and power in this organization.
Finally, I must preach to the sisterhood. Seeing each of the contestants in the dressing room is one of the most amazing sights. I never thought I would create friendships as strong as I have through a pageant. The entire weekend and beyond we are always jumping to the help of one another. May it be zipping up a gown, gluing on false eyelashes, or a good group hug before showtime, the sisterhood is more real than an outsider can possibly imagine. These girls are destined to be forever friends. Standing at the front of the stage just before crowning, in front of some of my biggest cheerleaders, who were also my competitors, and holding hands with the winner when her name was called, was nothing but magical. I am sure that it does not matter who wins the crown, all that matters is who wins at life. I am genuinely happy to say that as leaders, scholars, servants, and performers, I know all 29 of us are certainly doing that!
As you can probably tell, I had quite a remarkable time at this year’s Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen competition. The minute I stepped off the stage the clock reset and it began time for me to start preparing for next year. Ready to return even stronger, more passionate, more knowledgeable, and more myself than ever, let the countdown begin.