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State Honoree

Rachel Petersen

South Dakota

Rachel Petersen, 18, of Rapid City, S.D., a senior at Stevens High School, initiated and leads a group of teen volunteers who prepare and serve hot lunches every Sunday to homeless and disadvantaged people in her community. When Rachel learned that hungry people were turned away from the community’s food program for failing Breathalyzer tests or breaking program rules, she decided to help. “It still seemed like a terrible tragedy that good people with a few problems had nowhere to eat,” she said. Rachel first arranged for a steady source of donated food, then began recruiting reliable student volunteers to help. Each week, Rachel picks up the donated ingredients, then prepares her menu – usually a five-gallon pot of soup, with bread, a side dish, and something to drink. Volunteers help set up a feeding station in a city park, where they stay each Sunday for two or three hours, serving 40 to 50 hungry people. Rachel is training other teen volunteers to take over when she leaves for college next year. “The eradication of world hunger will happen one meal at a time,” Rachel said.