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State Honoree

Dhruv Suryadevara

Ellington, Connecticut

Dhruv Suryadevara, 14, of Ellington, Connecticut, an eighth-grader at Ellington Middle School, is a dedicated volunteer at a regional food bank because of his deep concern for families dealing with food insecurity. Dhruv’s first exposure to poverty came during biannual family trips to India. “There were many people begging on the streets because they had no other way of getting food,” he said. “It hurt me to see how these people struggled.” Back home, Dhruv attended an event run by a charity that serves people in need. “It made me realize that I actually could and should do something to help struggling people,” he said.

Dhruv saw his chance to do just that when he found out that, despite his age, he could volunteer at Foodshare, a food bank serving Hartford and Tolland counties. He started working there in the summer of 2018, and then found opportunities to contribute throughout the school year. At the facility, he sorts and packages produce, meat, bread, milk and canned items, cleans vegetables, and helps maintain a garden. And when he’s at home, he makes mesh bags that are used by the food bank to store fruits and vegetables. For the past few years, Dhruv also has been helping to organize and set up a 5K run to raise funds for an organization that builds infrastructure in rural India. “I feel amazing that I have been able to have an impact on many people’s lives,” he said.