Last night, I attended the Taste of the Nation event put on by the No Kid Hungry organization. Calling it a huge success is an understatement! All of the Seacoast’s greatest restaurants and breweries filled the thousands of vendor booths, the auction tables were lined with once in a lifetime vacation packages and priceless novelties, and the dance floor was quickly packed with community members eager to help us end food insecurity on the New Hampshire Seacoast! Volunteers and attendees alike had a great night and we definitely made a big impact in the fight against hunger.
Since I embarked on this amazing journey of service, I have seen things and places that I never knew existed, met people I never thought I’d meet, and experienced countless life changing moments that I take with me wherever I go. Last year, around this time, I was preparing to spread my wings and venture on to high school. Before I could do that, I first had to complete middle school. At the middle school graduation, I had the honor of saying the final speech, and I decided to use it to ask all of my peers and everyone in the audience to leave a mark on the world but always remember their roots. Nearly a year later, I return to the very same gymnasium but this time, not as a student. I attended on behalf of Seeds of Hope, to accept the check the graduates were donating for their class gift. Last year, when I was the one making the tough decision of where to give the proceeds from our many fundraisers, I never imagined I would one day be on the other side. I am more grateful for the growth I’ve experienced through Seeds of Hope than there could possibly be words to describe. Recognition is the very last thing I do this all for, but to know that I am inspiring other young people to give back to their community is one of the most rewarding feelings. Not too long ago I sat exactly where they do, and if my story planted a single seed into the mind of just one of those students, then my mission is accomplished.
Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, just like nothing ever changes without a dream.
I am so overcome with joy as I await word that my most recent shipment of seeds has reached its destination, Pakistan! These seeds will provide a sustainable source of nutrition to the girls at Abba Orphanage Home for Girls. Seeds of Hope however, is about more than just ensuring these girls can go to bed with a full tummy. Its about inspiring them. My wish, is that every time these young girls see a seed sprouting from the ground, it reminds them of themselves. I hope to empower everyone at the orphanage to know that before a seed becomes a plant, its shell cracks, it hides in the darkness of the dirt, and finds the strength to finally reach the light. I believe these girls are the seeds of today and the flowers of tomorrow and my mission is not only to provide them the nutrients they need to blossom to their fullest selves, but to provide them with the hope that they too can change the world.
This weekend, I led my team in my 10th Hunger Walk! It’s hard to believe it has already been ten times. I always love walking for hunger, because it includes so many of my favorite things. Being outside, spending time with my friends and family, and of course, taking steps toward a solution to the hunger epidemic facing our country. Thank you so much to my team for always supporting me, and thank you to all the other teams who helped to make the event another success! Together, we are coming closer and closer to ending hunger!
Saturday evening, I had the honor of attending and volunteering alongside some of my sister titleholders at the Granite State Children’s Alliance Gala! The generosity of the other attendees was something I will never forget, and the night was so eye opening to see just how severe the issue of abuse still is today. Hearing the stories of survival and strength was truly inspiring and I am absolutely walking away from the experience with a whole new outlook on serious issue that needs to have more discussion.
I’ve always loved volunteering at the annual Stuff the Bus food drive, so it was definitely a pretty cool experience to run the Hampstead Fill the Truck Food Drive! We collected so much for the St Anne’s Food Pantry and the Sandown Food Pantry. This food drive is still going on, as we are working to stock up the shelves for the treacherous summer months which are especially challenging for the food insecure families of our community. Help us out!
All year, I have had the pleasure of sharing many afternoons with the students at Derry’s elementary schools! I have been mentoring these kids about the importance of all things, whether it be school and academic involvement, extracurricular activities, or just being a good person! It has truly been a great experience to get to know each individual, and to be a role model for them so early on in their education journey. Hearing things like, “You are the reason I come to school everyday,” “I want to make people feel special one day just like you do to all of us,” and simple “Thank you for being my friend,” is what keeps me going!
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.