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.
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.
Today, I received news that my first Seeds of Hope shipment finally reached its destination. From Hampstead, New Hampshire to Tonga, I am truly proud of myself for all I have done in attempt to solving the biggest issue facing our community today.
I started working to end hunger when I was seven years old. My family and I went out for a nice dinner one night in Boston. On the way back to our car, I saw a man on the street and instantly decided to give him my left over chicken nuggets. Something inside of me knew he needed it more than I did. This small act of kindness quickly spiraled into my purpose. Today, 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, but I have dedicated myself to changing that.
After seven years of food drives, pantry work, and soup kitchen service, I realized my purpose is my power and Seeds of Hope was born this summer. I alone cannot end hunger, but together, we are unstoppable. Seeds of Hope has two parts, but the ultimate goal will always be to decrease the number of those struggling with food insecurity. One aspect is empowerment. I use my voice to make an impact, speaking at all sorts of events to audiences of all kinds, raising awareness of the issue and sharing my story to let everyone know they really do have the power to make a difference. I want to plant Seeds of Hope in the heart of everyone I get the chance to speak to. Hope for the future, hope for our world.
The other aspect is more tangible. Through lots of fundraising efforts, I have been able to take my work against hunger international. Almost two months ago, I put together a box with 50 packets of different sorts of vegetable seeds and a handwritten letter and mailed it off to Tonga, with hopes of implementing a sustainable food source for a community on the island. It certainly took a lot of hard work, but today when I saw the photo of my box, my smile reached each ear. Knowing that my seeds are now feeding families in need on the other side of the world is the most fulfilling feeling I could ask for.
Today is my favorite day of the MNHOT social media challenge! Platform day! 🌻🌱💙 Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love my platform. It all started 8 years ago, decided to give my dinner leftovers to a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. I then started volunteering at my local soup kitchen, and since it has spiraled into my absolute passion and what I want to do for the rest of my life. There’s nothing I am more proud of than the work I have put into ending world hunger. 💙
Isabel shares her story of hope to empower everyone to change the world because every beautiful flower and mighty forest began as a tiny seed in the dirt. To book Isabel Povey to speak at your school, fundraiser, or event, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 603-244-6386, and follow her journey through Instagram @maoteennh or Facebook at Isabel Povey