Ten tons of fresh produce have been donated to western Wisconsin food shelters and pantries over the past two years thanks in large part to the organizational efforts of a 17-year-old: Shaun Stokes of River Falls, Wisc.
At age 15, Stokes became involved with Grow-to-Share, a nonprofit organization, which recruits volunteers to grow and maintain gardens and donate their produce. He also helps organize an annual pancake fundraiser to cover expenses. Earlier this month, Stokes’ received a $10,000 award for his innovation (with $2,500 going to the charity of his choice) from the Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Huggable Heroes program.
Stokes was one of 10 winners who ranged in age from 12 to 18. Their collective efforts helped build 18 homes in the U.S., 31 wells in India and eight soccer fields and four libraries in Africa. They also raised funding to improve education, spread word about epilepsy, and supported and comforted children with cancer.
Grow-to-Share continues to seek volunteers, who among other things can spend time protecting, weeding and ultimately harvesting the produce at the organization's primary Hansen Road garden in River Falls. Updates on the organization's activities can be found on its Facebook page.
Cool Things Kids Do is an occasional series on the extraordinary kids in this community doing extraordinary things for their community. Prior blogs from the series:
  1. Chaska teen speaks at White House
  2. Lemonade fundraiser for cancer victim

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