Hunger Heroes: Kenzie Hinson

SPOTLIGHT: KENZIE HINSON

You're never too young to join the fight against hunger

GOLDSBORO, North Carolina – June 18, 2016 – Tyson Foods and the City of Goldsboro today publically recognized 12-year-old resident, Mackenzie “Kenzie” Hinson for her extraordinary efforts fighting hunger in the community. Hinson, founder and operator of Goldsboro’s Make a Difference Food Pantry, is the second individual honored as a Tyson Foods Meals That Matter® Hero – part of the company’s pledge to invest $50 million in cash and in-kind donations by 2020 to fight hunger, with a special focus on local initiatives.

“Running a food pantry is about more than just food,” said Kenzie Hinson, the Tyson Foods Meals That Matter® Hero. "It’s how you make people feel when they walk in the door. With this honor and support from Tyson Foods, now I can make more people feel good, and I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough for that.”

In the short year since Hinson started the Make a Difference Food Pantry in a church fellowship hall, the operation has grown from serving 35 people to serving more than 1,000 people in Wayne, Sampson and Johnston counties each month. In addition to three monthly distributions at the pantry, Hinson also runs Backpack Buddy programs that provide afterschool meals to in-need students at four local schools, an effort she will extend to three additional schools in the fall.

“The impact the Make a Difference Food Pantry has had on this community in such a short time is incredible – regardless of the founder’s age. But what makes Kenzie so remarkable is that, at 12 years old, she is more passionate, knowledgeable and driven than many people three times her age,” said Sara Lilygren, executive vice president, corporate affairs at Tyson Foods, Inc. “People like Kenzie, who see opportunities rather than barriers, excite us. There is no question that Tyson Foods’ support of Kenzie will provide a lasting impact in the fight against hunger in this community for years to come.”

Hinson was honored as a Tyson Foods Meals That Matter® Hero at the First Annual Father’s Day Weekend BBQ Competition, a fundraiser for the Make a Difference Food Pantry. She was presented with a $20,000 grant from Tyson Foods to cover a year’s worth of rent, as well as a commercial freezer to help Kenzie maintain choices for her clients – an element of the pantry she prides herself on.

Do you know someone making a difference in your community? Let us know here.

Meet Our Other Heroes
Lola Stephens-Bell
Lola Stephens-Bell

Lola feeds the hungry out of her restaurant and on the streets of Austin, Texas.

Courtney White
Courtney White

Lola feeds the hungry out of her restaurant and on the streets of Austin, Texas.

Jessica McClard
Jessica McClard

Founder and operator of the Little Free Pantry in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Know A Hunger Hero?

Do you know someone who’s making a difference by fighting hunger in their community? Click below to nominate them to be our next Hunger Hero.