Concordia Sophomore Receives Award for Hunger Relief Efforts Totaling $115,000
19-year-old Lauryn Hinckley is from Bismarck
FARGO, N.D. — When Lauryn Hinckley was nine–years–old, a family caught her eye, but it wasn’t their appearance.
“I actually witnessed a young family unable to afford their groceries at a local grocery store in my hometown of Bismarck. That wasn’t ok with me. It just did not sit right. I kept telling my mom ‘we need to do something,'” Hinckley said.
Hinckley partnered with United Way’s Backpack Program which gives $5 food bags to children in Bismarck and Mandan to fix the issue.
But soon another arose.
“From there, I then learned that peanut butter and jelly was the most expensive item that was put into the backpacks so I came up with the idea to do peanut butter and jelly drives,” Hinckley said.
Hinckley has collected more than 33,000 pounds of peanut butter and jelly over the last 10 years, a feat some never thought she could accomplish.
“I was always told as a young child that I couldn’t make a difference and that the time into my project isn’t worth it. I had a few girls at school tell me that, even adults,” Hinckley said.
She showed everyone what she was made of in western North Dakota and will soon be able to say the same in Fargo–Moorhead.
Hinckley raised $115,000 for hunger relief efforts over the last decade and has just been awarded the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Scholarship of $10,000.
“I do know students here who cannot afford the meal plan and they have said they skipped meals in order to save money for tuition,” Hinckley said.
Hinckley wants to use half of the money to bring campus kitchens to Fargo–Moorhead, starting with Concordia.
“Concordia, NDSU and MSUM and other schools across the nation, we don’t realize that the students coming from school lunch programs and Backpacks for Kids programs come into college still not having the feasibility to eat all the time,” Hinckley said.
Campus Kitchen provides food to both students and people throughout the community.
No matter how small the impact, Hinckley is hoping to create at least some change while also making her father proud.
“In Montana, he was on the school lunch program but he got out of poverty, out of living on a dirt floor, and now he’s able to put me through college. He’s always told me that it’s so important to give back to the community that’s so given you so much,” Hinckley said.
It’s exactly what she plans to keep doing in each community that becomes her home.
Hinckley has also implemented peanut butter and jelly drives into 4–H programs.
She’s also helped some of her peers hold their own food drives around the country and as far as Ireland.