Mackenzie Hinson has been helping families in need since she was 10 years old.
Back then, she learned a startling statistic: nearly 20 percent of Wayne County residents didn’t know when or how they would get their next meal. That’s when she began her mission to end hunger in North Carolina. As young as she was, she knew she could make a difference in her neighbors’ lives!
In 2015, she founded the Make a Difference Food Pantry. The nonprofit distributes food to families in need through a fixed location, mobile feeding programs, and outreach pantries. When Mackenzie and her team first started, they were serving about 35 people. Now, they’re feeding thousands each month!
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“We are stopping hunger one meal, one family at a time by providing nutritious food to those in need with compassion and love — because it’s more than just food; it’s about how you make people feel!” reads the organization’s website.
When the novel coronavirus began, Mackenzie ramped up their operations to ensure those who are struggling never have to go hungry.
“Since the pandemic started, we’ve done over 33,000 hot meals and over 200,000 pounds of food have come out of here,” she explained.
What’s more, she has been supporting disaster recovery efforts for years. When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana in 2017, her nonprofit rallied people in Wayne County to donate food and toiletries to survivors.
And after Hurricane Isaias sent a deadly tornado into Windsor this August, they began delivering bags packed with fruits, vegetables, and toiletries to affected communities.
“It felt like a gut punch, if that makes any sense, ’cause I know what it feels like to be on the other side when it feels like your whole life has been destroyed,” the 16-year-old said. “We completely understand.”
She’s referring to 2018 when Hurricane Florence flooded her food pantry’s old building. Thankfully, they recuperated and rebuilt thanks to Team Rubicon. By joining forces with the disaster relief group to mitigate the devastation in Windsor today, she’s paying their kindness forward!
Talk about making an impact! If Mackenzie can do it, so can you! Click here for a list of ways you can help the pantry make an even bigger difference.
Share this story to encourage your friends to step up in their own communities. Donate, volunteer, and do whatever it takes to stamp out hunger!
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