The Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship program recognizes student innovation and youth led solutions to fight hunger in America. These young people are creating awareness and mobilizing peers in their communities to be catalysts for change. The scholarship awardees comprise a wide variety of students, ages 5 to 25, who are recognized at the national and regional level and hail from across the country. Since the program’s inception in 2007, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has awarded over $800,000 in grants and scholarships. View all scholars.
Annika Kovar, Rising College Sophomore / Frazee, MN
Annika Kovar educates children across the U.S. about nutrition and healthy eating. In 2016, she founded Little Sprouts Garden Gang, an organization partnering with childcare facilities in all 50 states to provide programming about the importance of vegetables and gardening to teach healthy eating habits at an early age.
This is a hands-on program where children play in the dirt planting vegetable seeds and actively engage in lessons about gardening and eating healthy food. In nearly five years, Little Sprouts Garden Gang is reaching nearly 200 childcare facilities across the U.S. and. has coordinated food drives that raised between 400 to 700 pounds of food each year for a local food pantry. This program is complemented by Annika’s very own published children’s book called “Come and Plant a Garden with Me!” The Little Sprouts Garden Gang is creating a ripple effect that will allow the 2,500 children that Annika has reached to teach others about gardening and helpful ways to prevent hunger in the future.
Annika plans to utilize the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger $5,000 grant award to create a community apple orchard, as well as contribute funds to their local community garden Perham Community Food Shelf in Minnesota.
Caleb Oh, Rising High School Sophomore / Edgewater, MD
Caleb Oh founded Kids Changemakers after being told he was too young to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. His organization collaborates with non-profit organizations to provide kids with volunteer opportunities to help support food insecure individuals, the homeless, military families, victims of natural disasters, and children in the foster care system.
When Caleb was six years old, he learned that he was too young to serve as a hunger-fighting volunteer in places like soup kitchens and food pantries. This motivated him to create Kid Changemakers and as a result, provisions for more than 2,000 lunches have been provided to help those that are homeless, more than 200 lunch accounts with unpaid balances have been paid, and more than 1,000 women and children in shelters have been supported with food donations.
Kid Changemakers has also collected food donations for victims of natural disasters, provided nearly $75,000 worth of coupons to military families to help with food supplies and collected over $60,000 of in-kind donations, grants and cash over the past eight years. Caleb attributes these successes to the many partnerships with schools, businesses, churches and local non-profits. Most recently, Kids Changemakers collaborated with the Blue Ribbon Project to run “Aging Up Not Out” workshops. These workshops teach foster teens valuable life skills so that when they age out of the foster care system they can support themselves.
Caleb intends to utilize the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger $5,000 grant award to Kids Changemakers to start a food pantry at a local university.
Carson Pazdan, Rising High School Junior / Barrington, IL
Carson Pazdan began his charitable efforts by creating the Kids Feeding Kids Cookbook featuring recipes from well-known celebrities to raise money for his local food bank. The project grew into a non-profit organization of elementary age children dedicated to fighting hunger through volunteer activities and youth-lead fundraisers to spur lifelong philanthropic advocates.
Carson Pazdan’s interest in food and hunger began when he was only five years old. After a conversation about hunger with his mom, he decided to create Kids Feeding Kids and sell a cookbook that would benefit people dealing with hunger. This cookbook contains 800 recipes, some of which were contributed by celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, Chris O’Donnell and Sean Hayes. Over 2,000 cookbooks were sold and raised $40,000 to help provide hunger relief to local community members.
Now, 10 years later, Carson has raised over $160,000, collected thousands of pounds of food and donated $840,000 worth of groceries to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Carson also organizes two annual food drives where he engages youth to help volunteer. At the kickoff of the food drives, Carson speaks with elementary school children and educates them about the food insecurity. His passion to fight hunger has inspired nearly 1,000 participants to support his annual food drives.
Carson plans to utilize the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger $5,000 grant award to purchase much needed equipment, such as refrigeration and freezers, for Kids Feeding Kids Club.
William Winslow, Rising High School Freshman / Raleigh, NC
William Winslow leads the Backpack Buddies initiatives in his community to provide direct food aid to those who need it most. William leads young people in annual food drives, community garden builds, education initiatives to help develop sustainable hunger relief programs, and advocacy efforts for local and national policy changes to fight food insecurity.
He developed an interest in helping end hunger when his guidance counselor shared that some of his classmates did not have enough food to eat on weekends. This knowledge sparked William to implement a series of anti-hunger activities, including food drives. His first food drive was a request for food donations versus birthday gifts for his seventh birthday. His most recent food drive collected nearly 12,000 pounds of food and $10,000. Over the past seven years he collected over 55,000 pounds of food and over $63,000 to support his local food pantry.
In addition to food drives, William implemented Little Free Pantries in his community. These pantries are located near public bus stops and provide access to non-perishable food supplies for both children and adults. In addition to food drives and the food pantries, William also helped to implement school gardens, including a hydroponic garden at an elementary school where they harvested lettuce for the community. When he is not actively implementing a food drive or garden, William is teaching others about hunger. He speaks with civic groups, youth groups, scouts, churches and school-age children about hunger.
William plans to utilize the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger $5,000 grant award to build and stock more little free pantries across North Carolina through the Food Drive Kids organization.
Noah Zimmer, Rising College Junior / Granger, IN
Noah Zimmer is the co-founder of Meat Hunger, a youth-led livestock auction buyer’s group that purchases the livestock projects of his fellow 4-H members. The group then works with local organizations to process and distribute the meat bought from the auctions, as a source of protein, for students and families participating in local backpack programs.
As a resident of Granger, IN, Noah is aware of the hunger that exists within St. Joseph County. Noah recalls one evening when his dad shared the statistic that, one in four children go without food every day in St. Joseph County. He clearly remembers hearing this statement from his dad while looking at the porkchop on his full plate. At that moment, his passion to help end hunger was sparked. After researching the problem, he learned that protein is the most lacking nutrient for those struggling with hunger. As a result, he and his sister founded Meat Hunger.
One of the goals of Meat Hunger was to involve the 4-H community because he knew they needed help now and in the future through a succession planHe created a peer-to-peer mentorship program to develop Meat Hunger leaders of the future and presented to over 500 4-H community members.. Within two years, Meat Hunger, with the support of 4-H leaders, generated an economic impact that exceeded $52,800 and provided 72,000 total servings of local 4-H raised meat to hungry people of St. Joseph County. They also helped implement the non-perishable portion of the food drive, including the “Battle of the Barns,” which involved eight barns competing against each other to collect the most food items and netted 3,400 pounds of food in the first year.
Noah intends to utilize the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger $5,000 grant award to invest a portion of the money directly into Meat Hunger by soliciting matching donations of new donors. With the remaining amount, he plans to offer scholarships to 4-H youth members who exhibit outstanding leadership and initiative towards addressing the hunger problem in St. Joseph County.
2020 Regional Honorees
- Lana Anderson, age 16, Rockville, MD
- Faith Baxter, age 18, Dripping Springs, TX
- Luke Cowart, age 19, Kennett Square, PA
- Makenzie Greenwood, age 13, Hampstead, MD
- Joseph Mansbach, age 16, Santa Barbara, CA
- Ashley Perry, age 16, Anchorage, AK
- Ryan Rossow, age 18, Manhattan Beach, CA
- Taylor Taft, age 17, Herriman, UT
- Jimena Tinoco Morales, age 17, Houston, TX
- Abigail Yoon, age 16, Greenville, NC
The Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship application period opens October 5.