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State Honoree

Christopher Gardner

Nevada

has woken up at 4:45 every Thursday morning for the past two years to deliver hot stew and coffee to homeless people in a city park. Christopher decided he wanted to help other people as he watched his mother volunteer with the homeless, and saw how happy she made them feel. “I’m lucky to have a nice house and family, and it makes me happy to do things for others who aren’t so lucky,” Christopher said. Since he was six years old, Christopher helped his church group package food baskets for the hungry. When the group needed help at a soup kitchen for the 6 a.m. shift, volunteers were not easy to come by, but Christopher offered to help, despite it being a school day and having to wake up before 5 a.m. “I feel it is important because these poor people have slept out in the cold all night, and they really need hot food and coffee to start their day and help them survive,” he said. Though frightened at first by the appearances of the homeless, Christopher has discovered “how nice and friendly they are” and has made many friends among them. In addition to his work at the soup kitchen, Christopher goes garage-sale hopping, using his own money to buy all the used coats, blankets and warm clothes he can find, which he then donates to the poor. “Helping others isn’t all work, it can be fun too. You always get back more than you give.”