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State Honoree

Sagen Woolery

Georgia

started a summer meal service operated completely by 8-to-12-year-olds for needy children and their families. After seeing a TV commercial about community service, Sagen talked to her parents about volunteering. “I wondered where children who depend on the free lunch program at school could eat lunch during the summer,” she said. “The more I thought about it, the more I worried about my friends in need.” Sagen’s mother introduced her to the director of a local soup kitchen, who helped Sagen organize, plan menus, solicit donations of food and funding, and obtain permission from both a food bank and Sagen’s church to operate “The Kids’ Kitchen” every Wednesday during the summer. Sagen recruited more than 120 youth volunteers and scheduled their work time. In addition to providing lunches, Sagen uses part of her donated funds to buy toiletries and school supplies for the needy children who come to her “kitchen.” The Kid’s Kitchen has served more than 3,200 people in her community since it opened two summers ago. “I think everyone involved with the Kid’s Kitchen has learned a very special lesson about love,” Sagen said. “I believe that if one person is fed and not hungry, it is a big accomplishment. I think we are all responsible for each other.”