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State Honoree

Meredith Hodges

Tennessee

Meredith Hodges, 17, of Oak Ridge High School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, wanted to help the needy children in her area who did not have shoes to wear to school, so she designed a clothing drive and created a community Clothing Closet with the donations. She convinced her church to provide an unused classroom for the Clothing Closet, and secured donations of carpet and paint to renovate the room. Meredith promoted the clothing drive in the community and collected good, stylish, usable clothing, toys, and clothing racks on which to display the clothes. To date, the closet has helped over 100 needy families who could not afford to purchase clothes, and has expanded into a second room to provide clothing for adults as well as for children. "I've learned so many things from this project -responsibility, compassion, how easily needs can be overlooked, and how to spackle walls," said Meredith. "It takes so little to really make a difference in someone's life."