Congratulations to Isaac McFarland, our 2015 Christopher Reeve Service Award recipient!
Isaac attends one of the top magnet schools in the state of Louisiana. According to the director of the recreation center district across the street from Caddo Magnet High School, “Most of the children attending Isaac’s school do not live in this low-income poverty-stricken neighborhood. Therefore, the majority of the faculty, students and parents drive in to this neighborhood at 8 am to obtain their amazing education and drive back out at 3:30 – never looking back to help the community. Not Isaac. From day one he has been involved with our community.” At first, Isaac began by tutoring the neighborhood children after school and donating food to the local food bank. It was while working with the children that he witnessed firsthand the harsh the impact of no or little food. He vowed to do something about eliminating hunger within the school community and across communities in the Shreveport area, Louisiana and the country. Isaac began hosting food drives and successfully collected over three tons of food.
Later, Isaac had the bright idea to fill fishing tackle boxes with healthy non-perishable breakfast items and snacks to distribute to children in the community. This effort grew into the “Game Changers Let’s Tackle Hunger”, “Game Changers Tackling Childhood Weekend Hunger” that ensures children have enough food through the weekend and most recently “Game Changers’ Healthy Ambassadors” impacting over 12,000 children throughout Louisiana. Isaac has written and received several grants totaling over $20,000 to support Game Changers campaigns, food banks and a struggling neighborhood community garden.
During the summers Isaac began volunteering at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center and created Hearts for the Homeless to distribute back packs containing essential items for homeless children and veterans in the Shreveport community. For this project, Isaac recruited the VA employees, classmates, teachers, as well as various school clubs and organizations and even the Mayor’s office in donating back packs as well as supply items. The response was tremendous reaching every homeless child in the parish as well as 400 homeless veterans and other adults. In addition, many people wanted to donate food that netted hundreds of pounds for the local food bank which serves a multitude of homeless agencies. Lastly, his Hearts for the Homeless project changed people’s views on the plight of homeless individuals in our community.
Isaac’s life, and the lives those of us who have the privilege to be around him, have been enriched as he pursues his dream of eliminating hunger.
To learn more about Isaac McFarland and his service activities, please visit http://ladigitalmedia.org/video_v2/asset-detail/LYOHE-2014-McFarland