Junior Works to Feed Hungry Schoolchildren
Woodberry Forest School's McKenzie Folan '13 has been raising money for the past two years to provide children in his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with much needed food on the weekends. Working with Second Harvest Food Bank (a member of Feeding America), on whose board his mother, Ragan Folan, sits, McKenzie has already raised $8,500 so that Old Town Elementary School's fifty neediest children can be discreetly provided with a backpack full of food each weekend. Virtually every student at Old Town receives a subsidized lunch, so McKenzie recognizes more needs to be done.
That's why his Tiger baseball teammates took a break from their spring break training camp in the Triad on March 13, 2012, to join McKenzie at a media launch. "We are working hard to sustain the program and raise more money to expand and serve all the needy kids," explains McKenzie. "Winston-Salem was ranked as the worst in the country, with 35% of families being 'food insecure.' What I am doing is only a small part of what has to be done in this area. The media launch was basically to tell the public about our efforts."
Ragan Folan elaborates on the work her son has done: "Two summers ago, Dara and I challenged McKenzie to pick a local cause to champion and construct a "service project" aimed at helping that cause. He chose childhood hunger and became interested in the BackPack program. He learned that while 28 schools in the area qualified for the program, none had been implemented, so he began volunteering at the food bank and raising seed money to begin a program at an elementary school. After meeting with executives at both Second Harvest and in the school district, he identified the school he wanted to support and found a partner agency -- a local church -- to help with storing, stuffing, and delivering the backpacks each week."
McKenzie has been working to involve other organizations in his cause. The talk he gave to 200 women at the Winston-Salem Junior League meeting led to the group's offering assistance with funding and identifying eight women to volunteer to help with the weekly activities required. Of his talk to the Junior League, Ragan remarked, "McKenzie said he wasn't nervous because of all the presentations he has given at Woodberry Forest."