Za’nia Stinson, 13, of Charlotte, North Carolina, a seventh-grader at Mountain Island Day Community Charter School, has provided thousands of food and toiletry items to women and children staying at a local shelter and to people living on the streets. One day, Za’nia saw a woman and her two children begging for food in front of a supermarket. “I knew what it was like to be hungry, and it made me sad,” said Za’nia, who at one time had lived in a shelter with her grandmother. She asked her foster mother for money to help the woman, who cried when she received it. “This brought tears to my eyes,” said Za’nia.
Soon after, she applied for a service grant to launch her “Z Feeds Angel Food Project.” With the grant money in hand, she began shopping for nonperishable food items. She also asked supermarkets for donations and solicited toiletries from local doctors’ offices. Then, with the help of family members and other volunteers, Za’nia packed her collected items into gallon-size “Go-Go” bags, along with booklets of inspirational readings “to let the receivers know that life will get better,” she said. When the packing is done, Za’nia and her helpers deliver the bags to a women and children’s shelter. “I always carry extra bags with me and distribute them when I see people on the streets who are hungry and need food to eat,” she said. So far, Za’nia has distributed more than 525 bags containing over 4,000 food items and more than 3,000 toiletries.