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State Honoree

Elizabeth McIngvale

Mississippi

Elizabeth McIngvale, 18, of Pascagoula, Miss., a senior at Pascagoula High School, organized a monthly collection of breakfast foods that are distributed to low-income families with elementary school children. While volunteering as a tutor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Elizabeth became aware that children in her town were going hungry. Children were referred to tutors when their schoolwork was below average, and teachers felt some children were doing poorly because their families could not afford to feed them breakfast. “It was hard for me to comprehend that this was happening in Pascagoula,” said Elizabeth. “I thought if I could find a way to feed one child and prevent them from failing, then my time and effort was not a waste.” Elizabeth started by seeking guidance from her Big Brothers Big Sisters coordinator, and from the principal at the elementary school. She then recruited fellow members of her local Juniorette Club to help with the monthly collections of non-perishable food items and the distribution of “breakfast baskets” to needy families. Since her program began, Elizabeth has seen evidence that students’ grades and attitudes are improving, and she hopes to continue it beyond her graduation next May.