Growing Future Leaders in the Fight to End Hunger

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Growing Future Leaders in the Fight to End Hunger

By: Shondra Jenkins
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How @KatiesKrops grew from a tiny seedling to fighting hunger with 100 vegetable gardens @sodexoUSA #FreshFoodMatters
Wednesday, July 6, 2016 - 12:20pm


There are some remarkable people out there who are fighting to end hunger. These people have dedicated countless hours to ensuring no one goes hungry, whether it’s in their own communities or around the world. Some have donated thousands of pounds of food to people in need. Some have recruited others and inspired them to get involved in service. And some have done all of this before graduating high school.

Katie Stagliano is one of those remarkable people. Katie is now 17 years old, but she was only nine when she founded Katie’s Krops, an organization that encourages kids across the country to grow fresh produce to feed people in need.

Way back in 2010, The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation named Katie, who was then only 11 years old, as one of our Stephen J. Brady Scholars. In the past six years, we’ve not only watched her grow up, we’ve watched her grow more and more produce, and we’ve watched her grow her organization as well. We were thrilled to invite her to speak at our annual dinner in June, where we gave her the Growing Together Award.

In her speech, Katie shared how the idea for Katie’s Krops began. “I brought I tiny cabbage seedling home from school, and I would water it and weed around it,” Katie told the audience at Sodexo Foundation’s recent dinner, where she was honored. “Before I knew it I had a 40-pound cabbage in my backyard.”

Katie’s father always told her that food shouldn’t go to waste because there were some people who didn’t have enough, so she decided to donate the giant cabbage to a soup kitchen. “The director of the soup kitchen, Miss Sue, said it wasn’t enough just to donate my cabbage. I had to come back and serve it,” Katie recalled.

That cabbage fed 275 people, and it gave Katie and idea. “I wanted to see how much a garden could feed,” she said. Katie’s Krops was born.

Just two years later, the Sodexo Foundation named her a Brady scholar, which earned her a $5,000 grant for Katie’s Krops. “I was only 11 years old when Sodexo put its faith in me,” Katie said. “Katie’s Krops was in its infancy.”

“By naming me a Brady scholar, the Sodexo Foundation gave me the confidence to pursue my dream,” Katie said. “In 2016, I’m happy to say that Katie’s Krops has expanded to one hundred vegetable gardens not only in my home state of South Carolina but in 32 states across the country.”

Katie has been able to start her own grants to help kids across the country plant their own gardens. Katie’s growers get to attend all-expense paid summer camps and have access to their own website.

While growing healthy food feeds those in need today, growing leaders means we’ll make progress in the fight against hunger for years to come.

Shondra Jenkins is the Executive Director of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation and a passionate advocate in the fight to end childhood hunger in America. Ms. Jenkins believes that eliminating childhood hunger is possible through the active engagement of young people. She is working with national non-profit organizations to empower youth to have a voice and take action in their local community. With fresh eyes, energy and a different perspective on many social issues, Ms. Jenkins believes young people are the key to ending childhood hunger.

Keywords: #FreshFoodMatters | #engagingcommunities | Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Community | Engagement | Ethical Production & Consumption | Health | Katie's Krops | Local Farming | Nutrition & Well-Being | People