Ian McKenna, a fifth-grader at Oak Hill Elementary School in Austin, has been awarded a $500 grant to create a "Giving Garden," to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to children and families in his community and raise awareness about local hunger.
He is one of 100 students in the nation to receive the Sodexo Foundation Youth Grant through Youth Service America. The grant will support Ian in leading a team of Oak Hill students in a garden project that addresses childhood hunger.
Ian became interested in the issue during the holidays. He learned there were children at school who may go hungry during the winter break because they relied on school breakfast and lunch as their main source of nutrition.
Ian's team of students will be growing organic strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, squash beans, herbs and other produce to distribute locally to people in need. Work on the garden begins in early April. Fruit trees were planted earlier in the season to prepare for the project.