The Heart of America Foundation® announces Mackenzie H., from Mt. Olive, NC, as the first place winner of the 2015 Gee Whiz Kids® Service Award. The Gee Whiz Kids® Award is designed to honor exemplary children age 12 and under, who represent the best of their schools and communities via service activities
Mackenzie, after volunteering at several food banks, decided at age 10 to open her own food bank to better serve her local community. She persuaded a nearby church to allow her to use their facility; met with an accountant and applied for her 501c nonprofit status; invited local business leaders to join her board of directors; and scheduled fundraisers to raise money to purchase food.
In April 2015, Mackenzie’s “Make A Difference Food Pantry” became a reality with the mission of “stopping hunger one meal; one family at a time while providing nutritious food to those in need with compassion and love.” By July Mackenzie had served over 600 people and outgrown the church space, relocating to a local strip mall.
She now fundraises to pay her rent and utilities as well as purchase food to give away. Recently, a local car dealership donated a van for Make A Difference Food Pantry to transport food. Make A Difference Food Pantry is an official partnering agency with the Central North Carolina Food Bank. Thanks to Mackenzie’s efforts over 3,000 people have been served. Mackenzie is also the sponsor of the “Back Pack BUDDY” children’s weekend meal program at three local schools, supplying weekend meals for 56 children. This amazing seventh grader is living her dream of serving those in most need.