This College Student Is Living Her Childhood Dream Of Fighting Hunger — And It's Growing

"It showed me how many people actually rely on soup kitchens."

This College Student Is Living Her Childhood Dream Of Fighting Hunger — And It's Growing

Ever since she was 9 years old, Katie Stagliano has had a desire to fight hunger. Now a sophomore at the College of Charleston, she hasn't lost an ounce of her passion. 

Stagliano was ignited after she served a cabbage she grew to visitors of a local soup kitchen in South Carolina. "That one day changed my life; it showed me how many people actually rely on soup kitchens," she tells A Plus.

While in the third grade, Stagliano founded Katie's Krops, an organization whose mission is "to empower young kids to grow and maintain vegetable gardens and donate the harvest to help feed people in need." 

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Now, Katie's Krops gardens can be found feeding people nationwide. There are nearly 100 such gardens growing in cities including Austin, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. In 2017, about 40,000 pounds of food grown by Katie's Krops were donated to local soup kitchens, shelters, and food banks. 

"We have gardens at churches, schools, boys and girls clubs, and on rooftops in New York. It all depends on where people want to start their garden," she says. 

Once an entity has been approved to start a Katie's Krops garden, her organization sends resources, funding, and encouragement to make sure it grows to its full potential. Stagliano was also honored as a General Mills' Feeding Better Futures scholar and was awarded $50,000 to help expand her mission. 

"It will help us start more vegetable gardens in the United Staes. We want to be in all 50 states," she says. "The money will also help sustain the current gardens we have now. It will go towards our monthly Katie's Krops dinners, which are monthly dinners that we do in my hometown church that are open to anybody."

Stagliano tells A Plus that she is thankful for the impact she is able to have. "You never know how long the ripple effect will go," she says.

Cover image courtesy General Mills.

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