Media & Publications

14 Year Old's Mission To End Hunger

Video: 14-year-old's mission to end hunger

The Starfish Throwers, Featuring Katie

THE-STARFISH-THROWERS----Project-Teaser--1-on-Vimeo

THE STARFISH THROWERS // Project Teaser #1 from Delicious Filmworks on Vimeo.

We are thrilled to share, The Starfish Throwers will debut March 21 at 8pm ET/PT on DirecTV's Audience network (channel 239). This will be the US Broadcast Premier for the film that features Katie's efforts, along with the amazing work of Allen Law and Narayanan Krishnan. The film has been shown in theaters all over the world and was name the #1 Heartwarming Film of 2014 by The Huffington Post. The Starfish Throwers will be available on demand to subscribers on the DIRECTV site after the Audience debut on March 21.

What's Your Forty-Pound Cabbage?

What's Your Forty-Pound Cabbage?

Posted: 06/19/2013 3:53 pm
 
 
 

When Katie Stagliano was nine years old she participated in the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Growing project. Established in 2002 to inspire kids to grow vegetables, the purpose of the program is as straightforward as you'd think it ought to be. Grow cabbage. And, that's exactly what she did; except this was no ordinary produce -- Katie grew a forty pound cabbage. Most people, young or old, would probably take some pictures and maybe think "Coleslaw for everyone!" But not Katie. She saw this enormous piece of produce as both a challenge and an opportunity. In Katie's own words:

At the age of nine, I did not have a true understanding of the complexities of the issue of hunger. What I did understand was that there were individuals and families in my community who did not have enough to eat. I have a backyard where I could and do grow fresh vegetables and donate the produce to families that are struggling with hunger -- a simple solution to a problem that is not only in my community, but also globally.

And thus, Katie's Krops was born.

Across the country young people just like Katie are seeing problems in their community and coming up with solutions to address them.

Yash Gupta's high school career began in a most inauspicious way -- his eyeglasses broke. As he stumbled through his first weeks of school without being able to see the board clearly and in general feeling more overwhelmed and disoriented than your typical freshman, one thing did become crystal clear for Yash -- good vision might possibly be the most important and most overlooked component to a student's academic success.

With a little digging, Yash learned that there are 13 million children in the world who need glasses but cannot afford them; he also found out that more than three million pairs of used eyeglasses are discarded in North America every year. So, Yash started Sight Learning to try to bridge the gap. For Yash, this isn't merely about eyeglasses for 13 million kids; it is much, much more.

"These 13 million children are students, students who cannot make the most of their educational opportunities because of a lack of eyeglasses, which prevents them from being able to see and consequently learn," Yash shared.

They are 13 million potential leaders, 13 million youth who can change the world in the future. Sight Learning's work matters, not only because we are providing eye-glasses to students in developing nations, giving them better access to education and helping them for the future, but we are also inspiring youth around the world to take a stand, find a passion and make a difference.

Katie is 14 and Yash is 17. They are two of the six generationOn Hasbro Community Action Heroes selected this year -- each remarkable in his or her own way. A Hasbro Community Action Hero is a young person who makes an extraordinary mark on the world through service. The winners' achievements must demonstrate outstanding service to one's local, national or global community, extraordinary effort in creating innovative solutions to community needs and leadership of an exceptional service or advocacy activity.

And, yes, it is true that Katie is the youngest person to ever receive the Clinton Global Citizen Award for Leadership in Civil Society, and it is also true that Yash's organization has -- thus far -- raised more than $350,000 (7,000 pairs of eyeglasses and counting!) and conducted eye screenings in developing countries. They are, in a word, exceptional. What they are not, however, is "the exception" when it comes to youth service.

Both Katie and Yash embody the blessing of being young -- sometimes things actually can be as straightforward as they appear, and young people really don't like taking no for an answer. There is a lot we can learn from them. All Katie really did was grow an exceptionally large cabbage and then think to herself "there's got to be something productive I can do with this produce." When she donated it to a local food kitchen and learned that her one cabbage helped feed 275 people, her path became exceedingly clear -- get kids to garden and grow vegetables because they can, and then have them donate the fresh produce to organizations working to alleviate community hunger. She did not know -- to be fair she was nine, so she could not know -- about all the exigencies surrounding hunger in the US and the disproportionate lack of fresh produce in anti-hunger efforts. But with more than 60 youth-run vegetable gardens in the country, from Hawaii to Maine, and more than 7,500 pounds of fresh food delivered, it's safe to say she knows now.

Yash had a crummy start to high school and after a new pair of glasses, put his world back in view that could have been the end of it. But Yash amplified his experience, multiplied the effects over the course of an academic lifetime, was able to see the lost potential and created a pretty straightforward solution because as he rightly notes, "If every one of those three million pairs of glasses was collected instead of being discarded, every needy child without eyeglasses could have a pair in less than five years." For just a minute, consider not being a grown-up and getting wrapped up in the logistics about prescriptions and shipping and all the reasons why it couldn't be that easy, and just do the simple math... he's right.

So, our task, challenge and collective reason for being here might not be to celebrate Katie and Yash -- along with the other 2013 Hasbro Community Action Heroes, including Carter Jenkins (age 15), Stephanie Jennis (age 17), Zach Morgan (age 8) and Grace Anne Remey (age 9) -- although certainly they deserve to be celebrated. It may just be to emulate them, take a page from their book, do as they have done and will, thankfully, continue to do. Summer is an excellent time to dip your toe into service with a small project -- or jump all the way in to volunteerism as these young leaders have done.

Which really just leaves us with one question to answer: "America, what's your forty-pound cabbage?"

 
 
When Katie Stagliano was nine years old she participated in the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Growing project. Established in 2002 to inspire kids to grow vegetables, the purpose of the program is as straigh...
When Katie Stagliano was nine years old she participated in the Bonnie Plants Cabbage Growing project. Established in 2002 to inspire kids to grow vegetables, the purpose of the program is as straigh...
 

Katie Stagliano in Elegant Living Magazine

 

 

Elegant Living Magazine recently wrote an article about Katie Stagliano, a 16-year-old philanthropist who runs a nonprofit organization called Katie’s Krops. Katie starts and maintains vegetable gardens and donates the food to help feed people in need. The article about Katie ended up on Bill Clinton‘s desk and he was so impressed with Katie, he decided to award her with the Clinton Global Citizen Award, sponsored by The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). Katie was lucky to have Matt Damon present her with the prestigious award.

Congratulations to Katie Stagliano and to Elegant Living Magazine for writing about people who make a positive difference in the world!

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People Magazine Online - Katie Stagliano Feeds the Hungry Through Her Gardening Nonprofit

Katie Stagliano Feeds the Hungry Through Her Gardening Nonprofit

12/13/2012 at 04:20 PM EST

Katie Stagliano
ANDREW BRUSSO

PEOPLE MAGAZINE

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Ever since she was a little girl, Katie Stagliano knew how to make things grow. 

Four years ago, Katie planted the seedling for a 40-pound cabbage that would end up making meals for hundreds of hungry people in her Summerville, S.C., community.

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Now 14, she's been growing and feeding people ever since, with her nonprofit Katie's Krops that now seeds 55 kid-grown gardens in 21 states and produces thousands of pounds of vegetables. 

In September, the cabbage that started her crusade landed the Pinewood Prep 8th grader in New York City – and in the company of President Bill Clinton, as one of six recipients of this year's Clinton Global Citizen Awards. "He's really into science," says Katie. "He talked to me about photosynthesis." 

Katie works with groups addressing childhood health and nutrition issues and is part of an upcoming documentary Give Me Your Hungry. She's also been featured on the Great American Country cable network's Great American Heroes with Trace Adkins show. 

"He's a country boy," says Katie of Adkins. "He makes fun of me and my mom for wearing gardening gloves." 

Her now-famous cabbage seedling that she planted in her family's backyard made 275 meals (supplemented with ham and rice) at a homeless shelter in Katie's community. 

Says Katie, "I thought, 'Wow, with one cabbage I helped feed that many people? I could do much more.' " 

She started other gardens – in her subdivision, on donated land and on a field at school – seeded with donated plants and tended by school and community volunteers Katie recruited. 

Those vegetables and volunteer networks have sprouted, feeding growing numbers of the needy. Her nonprofit, started in 2010, offers grants of garden center gift cards to fledgling gardeners ages 9-16 to start their own gardens, with a new grant application cycle that goes through Feb. 12. Katie hopes to eventually have gardens in all 50 states. 

Katie is active in monthly suppers in Summerville, where kids cook vegetables from their gardens and feed anywhere from 50-150 people. A November dinner in a neighboring community transformed an elementary school into a restaurant for several hundred students and their families. 

"A lot of these kids have never been to a real restaurant before and they're not really eating as healthy as they should be," she says. 

Despite being thankful for the oversized vegetable that started it all, Katie offers a tiny admission: "I don't really eat cabbage that much. I know I'm supposed to probably love it but it's not one of my favorite vegetables," she says. "But I mean, it's not that bad." 

Katie's Krops Fighting For A More Generous World

President Clinton Honors 6 Recipients of Clinton Global Citizen Awards

Katie Stagliano, the youngest ever to receive the Clinton Global Citizen Award, is the 14-year-old founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, a nonprofit organization that starts and maintains gardens and donates the harvest to people in need. Credits:   © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The recipients of the 6th Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards included a 14-year old who started gardens to supply soup kitchens to alleviate hunger, the world's richest man who has spent $6 billion of his wealth boosting health care and education, two courageous leaders who risk their lives standing up for LGBT rights, a successful entrepreneur who turned his skills to helping revitalize Haiti, and business and philanthropy leaders recognized for their outstanding contributions.

 

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards recognizes individuals from various sectors who demonstrate visionary leadership in addressing global challenges. Carlos Slim Helú, founder of Fundación Carlos Slim; Luis A. Moreno, president of Inter-American Development Bank; Denis O’Brien, chairman and founder of Digicel Group; Pepe Julian Onziema, programme director and advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG); The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, executive director of St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre; and Katie Stagliano, founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, will accept awards this year.

“The work being done by this year’s honorees is nothing short of extraordinary,” said President Bill Clinton. “Tonight I’m proud to honor two Ugandans who risk their lives to secure basic human dignities many of us take for granted, three leaders whose contributions have positively impacted communities across the Caribbean and Latin America, and a social entrepreneur on pace to take my job before she turns 16. These are some truly amazing folks. They embody the spirit of CGI and inspire us all to be more responsible citizens of the world.”

Read more: President Clinton Honors 6 Recipients of Clinton Global Citizen Awards