Ian McKenna, a fifth-grader at Oak Hill Elementary School in Austin, has been awarded a $500 grant to create a “Giving Garden” to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families in his community and raise awareness about local hunger. He is one of 100 students in the nation to receive the Sodexo Foundation Youth Grant through Youth Service America, which were awarded to youth-led projects that aim to reduce childhood hunger in local communities. Grantees educate and mobilize their peers around the issue, creating solutions to end childhood hunger.
The grant will support McKenna in leading a team of Oak Hill students in a garden project that addresses the issue of childhood hunger and awareness. He became interested in the issue of childhood hunger during the holidays after he learned there were kids at school who may go hungry during the winter break because they relied solely on school breakfast and lunch as their main source of nutrition. McKenna’s team of students will be growing organic strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, squash beans, herbs and other produce to distribute locally to people in need. Work on the garden began in early April. Fruit trees were planted earlier in the season to prepare for the project.