SARASOTA, FL – Heavy rainstorms didn’t discourage Sarasota High School student Conor Andrich from his plan of delivering 6,000 granola bars to the Booker Middle School food pantry on May 4.
Conor, a 10th grader enrolled in the AICE program at Sarasota High, is deeply involved with the SRQVolunteen program of CYD (Community Youth Development) and has contributed more than 100 volunteer hours benefiting the community already this year. Conor also volunteers with All Faiths Food Bank and wanted to execute a project for Global Youth Service Day – a weekend of service spearheaded by CYD that took place in mid-April – tackling the issue of hunger.
He decided to purchase granola bars to stock up the food pantry for an area Title I school where hunger is an issue. Conor’s initial goal was to raise $1,200 to purchase 600 granola bars but he found a way to purchase 6,000 for just 10 cents each through Costco. He raised money through a “Make Your Mark on Hunger” grant from GenerationOn, a Go Fund Me page, tabling at a local grocery store, and working with fellow students to raise awareness and money.
Conor understands how hunger can affect kids at school, and hopes his effort will help the students at Booker Middle School. “If kids are hungry, they can’t perform at the necessary levels in school and other activities, so it’s important that they can be well-fed and well-nourished during the day,” he said. “A lot of work and effort went into this project, and I feel like it was a huge accomplishment to complete it. It was great to see this come to fruition and I think it will really benefit the kids.”
Assisting in coordinating the effort was The Children’s Healthy Pantry (CHP), an organization that provides snacks and bottled water to food pantries located at Title I schools in Sarasota and Manatee County. The mission of CHP is to ensure that children at risk have additional food during the school day.
In attendance during the food donation were Principal LaShawn Frost, Booker Middle School’s food pantry program director S. Kay Daniels, Yolanda Mancha and Jasmine Akins from CYD, Sharon Burde, Joyce McCoy and Susan Morin from Children’s Healthy Pantry, and Conor’s proud parents.
CYD, which is celebrating 20 years of great programs to benefit area teens, provides the tools to empower youth as leaders in service to their community. Students in grades 6-12 participate in a variety of 21st century skill development programs. In 2015, CYD served over 2,000 middle and high school students through 160 youth development activities throughout Sarasota County. CYD is funded in part by Bank of America Client Foundation, Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation, Scheidel Foundation, Sarasota County Government, and Volunteer Florida. For more information, call (941) 922-5126 or go to www.cydonline.org.