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State Honoree

Armani McFarland

Farr West, Utah

Armani McFarland, 15, of Farr West, Utah, a sophomore at Weber High School, has conducted 27 collection and fundraising drives over the past seven years that have yielded more than 6,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies for children from low-income families, as well as food, books, toys, clothing and hygiene items for other individuals and families in need. When she was in the third grade, Armani heard from her teacher that there were kids in their own community who went to bed hungry at night. “That thought broke my heart,” she said. Her response: a food drive that collected 1,000 pounds for a local food bank.

Shortly thereafter, Armani began collecting backpacks and school supplies for kids in need. Many other projects followed, and in 2016, Armani founded a nonprofit, “One Can Make a Change.” To conduct her collection and fundraising initiatives, she seeks donations through her website, solicits support from local businesses, and arranges activities such as raffles, bake sales, barbecues and lemonade stands. In addition to her food drives and annual backpack project, Armani has provided books to kids, stuffed animals to traumatized and injured children, and clothing and toiletries to the homeless. Recently, Armani helped pay for a new $12,000 roof on a teen shelter in Ogden. She also has traveled to Ghana with an international nonprofit to help install a water tank and to spend time with children at an orphanage. “Volunteering is not always easy, exciting or fun,” said Armani. “Sometimes it’s really hard. But it has always been worth it. I am constantly motivated by the smiles that the much-needed items bring to so many faces.”