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NC girl wins $10K for food pantry work

September 24, 2018
Kenzie Hinson is the moving force behind the Make a Difference Food Pantry in Wayne County.

On Sept. 17, 13-year-old North Carolina native Kenzie Hinson was honored with the 2018 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes.

Hinson was awarded for her founding of the non-profit Make A Difference Food Pantry. Since opening the pantry, Hinson has distributed more than 600,000 pounds of food and provided over 50,000 hot meals. The pantry holds weekly programs that include the weekly meal distribution, mobile meals for seniors, food programs for children, exercise classes, fitness classes, a clothes closest and a children’s library.

Hinson was inspired to start the pantry after learning that one in three children and more than 50 percent of all U.S. households live with food insecurity. Her dream was to create a space where people in need could feel compassion and shop with dignity. Now, she serves 7,000 people from her main pantry and seven distribution sites each month. She has also worked alongside partner organizations to feed people in need during Hurricane Matthew. Currently, she is giving away 900 plates daily to people who were effected by Hurricane Florence.

“I’ve learned to never give up on your passion and to work hard, with love,” said Hinson. “I live every day to help others and make the world a better place.”

Author T.A. Barron founded The Barron Prize in 2001 and named it after his mother, Gloria Barron. The program is designed so that the winners are representative of the diversity that is present in America. They all come from various backgrounds but share a distinct love for community service. Some focus on serving others while others may focus on enforcing and creating environmentally friendly practices in their communities.

“Nothing is more inspiring than stories about heroic people who have truly made a difference to the world,” said Barron. “And we need our heroes today more than ever. Not celebrities, but heroes --- people whose character can inspire us all. That is the purpose of the Gloria Barron prize: to shine the spotlight on these amazing young people so that their stories inspire others.”

The Barron prizes shines the spotlight on 25 young people from the U.S. and Canada every year. Each of the winners have made significant contributions to their community that have qualified them for hero status. From the 25, 15 are selected as the top prize winners who receive $10,000 for their service work or to pursue a college degree.

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