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screen shot 2012-06-27 at 4.32.22 pm.pngCheck out Katie in Elegant Living Magazine!  To see her full article
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"An inspiring story FOR all of us, may we ALL follow in katie Stagliano’s footsteps and support this much needed mission."

 

Planting the Seed of Change: How One Teen Will Feed Cancer Patients in Need

Planting the Seed of Change: How One Teen Will Feed Cancer Patients in Need

Thirteen-year-old entrepreneur Katie Stagliano turned a 40-pound cabbage into a community garden that feeds hundreds of families each year. Now after learning that 'Everyday Health' host Ethan Zohn's cancer had returned, Stagliano wants to do something in honor of him and cancer patients in her area.

 
 

 

During the first season of Everyday Health , hosts Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca visited Katie Stagliano, founder of Katie’s Krops in Summerville, S.C. The 13-year-old began a community garden after her 40-pound cabbage won top honors in her elementary school class’s contest. After three years, Stagliano now has 11 satellite gardens, which also donate food to local shelters and families in need. (Catch the Everyday Health episode featuring Katie’s Krops on Dec. 17 or 18 on your local ABC station.)

After hearing that Zohn’s cancer had returned, Stagliano became inspired to do even more. Here, she checks in to tell us what else she’s got growing.

The holidays are a time when a lot of people are donating to soup kitchens and giving toys to those in need. I think that it is amazing how much support these people get during the holiday season: Food baskets on Thanksgiving, coat and jacket drives for the cold winter months, and toys for Christmas. This means a lot to families, especially those with young kids, who have trouble providing for themselves.

But what a lot of people do not realize is that hunger does not end after the holidays. People will still wake up hungry January 1st.

Appearing on Everyday Health was a huge honor. Since the show first aired in September, we have started cooking and serving dinners at Summerville Baptist, a local church with a huge dining hall. Word has spread across the community, and we have had huge crowds. Our first dinner alone had 60 people, and at our last dinner, 95 meals were served!

I believe that because of the challenging status of our economy, more people are falling on hard times. We get calls every day from families asking for fresh vegetables and food or for the date of the next Katie’s Krops dinner. I am thrilled that Summerville Baptist Church believes in our mission and has agreed to fill the void of no longer having a soup kitchen in my community by allowing us to continue to prepare healthy, fresh, and hot meals to anyone in need in 2012.

Everything Happens for a Reason

I have found that sometimes life is like a puzzle. All you need are the few missing pieces for it all to make sense. And this year I found those missing pieces in the people I met.

I had the great privilege to work with Ethan Zohn on Everyday Health. He is a cancer survivor and is so full of life, so much fun, and so determined to live life to the fullest.

I also met Mark Hertlizch, a survivor who fought cancer all the way to the football field. Mark is a player for the New York Giants, #58. While he was at Boston College he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Mark had been an amazing football player at the college and he was determined to beat cancer and play again. Mark did just that and now he plays for the Giants.

Harper Drolet was an 11-year-old girl who lived in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She battled cancer twice, but, unfortunately, during her second fight Harper passed away. Her memory lives on and her spirit lives on through 'Hugs for Harper,' which raises money to help fund pediatric oncology research.

And finally, our family friend and neighbor, Miss Susan, is a breast cancer advocate. She approached us before Thanksgiving, asking if we had any food she could pass along to breast cancer patients, some of who are even homeless.

Why did I meet these people? What did I learn?

Just as I knew there was a reason I grew my 40-pound cabbage, I know there is a reason that these people came into my life. In 2012, I will continue to fight hunger one garden at a time, and I will continue to put the pieces of the puzzle together and see where they will lead me.

Planting the Seeds for a New Garden

I learned what I think most of us already know — that cancer is a horrible disease. Cancer takes a toll financially on patients and their families. Often caregivers are forced to give up their jobs to care for their loved ones. The financial burdens of the disease can be overwhelming and, as a result, families battling cancer sometimes struggle to put food on their tables. When you are fighting any disease or caring for someone in the fight of their life, proper nutrition is of the utmost importance.

That is when I put the pieces of the puzzle together: Katie's Krops would start a vegetable garden to provide cancer patients and their families with healthy, fresh produce.

Katie’s Krops mission is to grow vegetable gardens to feed people in need, and I can see no greater need than growing produce to provide nutritious fruits and vegetables to cancer patients and their families. In 2012, I will start a Katie’s Krops garden dedicated to feeding people who are fighting cancer. The harvest will provide patients with healthy produce, and it will be a tribute to honor those who are battling this terrible disease and those who have passed because of cancer. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together.

If you would like to help with the gardens dedicated to cancer patients, learn more about Katie's Krops and our mission to fight hunger one vegetable garden at a time, or find out how kids ages 9 to 16 can apply for a grant to start a Katie's Krops garden in their community, please go to KatiesKrops.com.

Last Updated: 12/14/2011 

From Farm to Table: How One Teen's Garden Is Feeding Hundreds of Hungry Families

Katie Stagliano never imagined that the 40-pound cabbage she grew for a school contest would have planted the start of an inspiring non-profit that's stamping out hunger one vegetable garden at a time.

By Sharon Tanenbaum

Katie Stagliano caught the gardening bug early, thanks to her family's garden in their backyard of their Summerville, S.C., home.

"It wasn't that much. It was like a few tomato plants, a pepper plant, and a lettuce," Katie says of her "salad garden."

Of course it may not seem like much now to this ambitious seventh grader, who turned her passion for planting and picking into a thriving non-profit organization that manages nearly 20 gardens to help to feed the homeless and hungry through local shelters and soup kitchens. The group, Katie's Krops is featured on the next episode of Everyday Health airing October 1 or 2 on your local ABC station.

And it all got started with a not-so-small cabbage.

Planting the Seed of Change — Literally

When Katie, now 13, was in third grade, her school participated in the Bonnie Plants' Third Grade Cabbage Program, which provides students with cabbage plants to grow to win a $1,000 scholarship (and bragging rights, natch).

"We planted it and treated it like every other plant in the garden," Katie recalls. "But it ended up growing to be so much bigger than every other plant."

In fact, the cabbage (an O.S. Cross variety, known for producing giant heads) ultimately weighed in at a staggering 40 pounds — and won Katie the contest.

But after the initial cheers and congratulations, there was the question of what exactly to do with a 40-pound cabbage plant. After all, serving it to Katie's own family of four — or even her classroom — would result in a waste of perfectly good and wholesome food.

That's when Katie had her light bulb moment.

 

Read more: From Farm to Table: How One Teen's Garden Is Feeding Hundreds of Hungry Families

American Profile | S.C. Girl Finds Goodness in Gardening

 by Sandy Summers August 2, 2011

Katie Stagliano, 13, gives new meaning to the word sharecropper.

The founder of Katie’s Krops oversees six gardens that have produced tons of vegetables for soup kitchens and other charitable organizations in and around her hometown of Summerville, S.C. (pop. 43,392).

Read More

American Express | Members Project: Katie's Krops

AOL The Top 10 Good News Stories of 2010

The Top 10 (Well, 11 and Then Some) Good News Stories of 2010

 


AOL News

This was a year that tested Americans' already-thin patience.

Though we were told that the recession, in fact, ended last year, it was frankly hard to believe. Unemployment refused to budge, the summer and fall were dominated by rancorous midterm elections, and gasoline hit $3 a gallon, just in time for the holidays.

Many of us might be heaving a sigh of relief that 2010 is showing itself the door, but it wasn't all bad. Despite the gloomy economic news that spread across the globe -- and even, in some cases, because of it -- people everywhere continued to do incredible, inspiring things.

The 33 Chilean miners pose with President Sebastian Pinera.
José Manuel de la Maza, AFP/Getty Images
The world sent up a collective cheer when the last of the miners was brought to safety from the San Jose mine in Chile in October. Here they pose for photos in the hospital with President Sebastian Pinera.

There were the 33 Chilean miners who thrilled the world when they were rescued alive, miraculously, after 69 days underground. One of the three American hikers detailed in Iran for more than a year was freed.

A group of the richest people on the planet pledged to give away the majority of their wealth to charity. Closer to home, some did great deeds for the benefit of others; some conquered goals that mattered to no one but themselves. Some did nothing more heroic than being good neighbors -- no big deal, maybe, but encouraging in its own way.

Here are a handful of our favorite positive stories of 2010, as chosen by AOL's Good News staff. And a happy 2011 to you all.


1. These Kids Are All Right

Young people continued to amaze us with their selflessness and passion. We came across so many kids with an inspirational sense of mission that we had trouble selecting just a few.

There was Katie Stagliano, a sixth-grader from Summerville, S.C., whose nonprofit, Katie's Krops, has delivered more than a ton of vegetables to soup kitchens. She tends six gardens -- including a football-sized plot given to her by her school -- that supply produce to food pantries.

Zach Bonner, 12, of Tampa, Fla., leads supporters past the historic Carousel on the Santa Monica Pier

Reed Saxon, AP
Zach Bonner leads supporters past the historic carousel on the Santa Monica Pier in California on Sept. 14 during the last mile of his nearly 2,500-mile "March Across America" to raise awareness of and funds for homeless children and teens.

And Zach Bonner, another 12-year-old philanthropist. After Hurricane Charley struck his hometown of Tampa, Fla., in 2004, Zach helped out his neighbors by distributing bottled water and other supplies from his little red wagon. Through his Little Red Wagon foundation, Zach has made advocating for homeless youth his personal mission. This September, Zach completed a 2,478-mile March Across America, which took him from Tampa to Los Angeles and took him more than five months. Just days after finishing the walk, Zach started directing a mini-documentary about ending homelessness for the estimated 1.3 million young people living without shelter in America.

In the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, government agencies, large corporations and relief organizations all mobilized, but in an atmosphere of accusations and recriminations. One 11-year-old girl on Long Island set about saving birds with her paintbrush. BRANDed Management

Olivia Bouler teamed up with the Audubon Society to raise money for the Gulf of Mexico cleanup effort with her bird paintings. When bird-lover Olivia Bouler heard about the spill, she contacted the Audubon Society and asked if she could help raise money for the cleanup effort with her bird paintings. Thus began her "Save the Gulf" campaign, where she sent an original watercolor to anyone who made a donation.  "I really needed to do something," Olivia said. When AOL heard about her efforts, it teamed up with the young painter, making her one of its AOL Artists and together raising $150,000 for Audubon.

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Nate Berkus: You Go Garden Girl!