Fourteen-year-old Eleanor Schoenbrun of El Paso, Texas is a warrior for #EndingHunger. Since the age of nine, Eleanor has been passionate about ending childhood hunger and helping those in her community who do not have access to regular food.
In El Paso, one in four children is at-risk of hunger. Eleanor founded the Zavala Elementary School Food Pantry to help food insecure elementary school students, and has amplified her efforts by teaming up with the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank through her service project Kans for Kids.
This year, YSA awarded Eleanor a $400 Youth During GYSD, Eleanor plans to host the Kans for Kids Food Drive to collect canned and other nonperishable food items to benefit the Zavala Elementary Pantry and the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank.
As a service project veteran, Eleanor knows what it takes to design a sustainable project. Read her advice below!
Question: Why did you decide to start a food pantry?
Answer: I started a food pantry after meeting the wonderful principal at Zavala Elementary School. She told me how much need there was at her school and how worried she was about students who might not be eating at home because they didn’t have any food. After learning about these students’ needs, I felt empowered to make a difference at the school, where the U.S.-Mexico border can be seen from the playground. I brought representatives from Project Vida, the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank, and the El Paso Independent School District together to build a food bank for students. The Kans for Kids Zavala Food Pantry has been successfully up and running since January 2017.
Question: How do you get other youth to volunteer with you? What are your methods?
Answer: I engage other youth to help me simply by asking! I’ll ask my group of friends and peers for help, and usually they’ll ask a few of their friends to come out to support my cause, too. I also post opportunities on my social media accounts so that I can raise awareness and reach a larger audience.
Question: What impact can youth have in improving their communities?
Answer: As the next generation, youth cannot wait for the future, we are the future. Recent events show that our actions are as strong as our voice. Youth can make every impact on their community from the smallest garden to the largest food drive to saving a homeless pet. My mantra since I was 8 years old, when I started my first service project was, “Even the smallest person can make the biggest difference.”
Question: How has support from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation contributed to your accomplishments?
Answer: The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has been so generous in providing me with the funds that helped first to create and maintain a food drive and eventually to sustain a food pantry. The Sodexo Dining Services team at University of Texas at El Paso has also shown their kindness by bringing cans and getting involved in my service project. Without their support and the Foundation’s financial contributions, children would still be going hungry instead of receiving the food they need to succeed – the food that my food pantry is now able to supply.START YOUR PROJECT