Photography by John Hryniuk Image by: Photography by John Hryniuk
Where she's from: Toronto
Award: Youth in action, 12 & under
Contribution: She founded Sarah’s Food Drive, an initiative she started to raise money and food for the homeless and hungry of Toronto, some of whom live not far from her.
Where would I like to be in 10 years: "I would love to help those people who are less fortunate, even if it doesn’t end up being my career—I see giving back as part of who I am."
Sarah Jordan was only five when, one night, she pushed her dinner away and proclaimed that she was full. Her mother, Lynda, responded, saying people were going hungry not five minutes away from the family’s Toronto home—not in China or Africa, the two typical responses one might hear in a family exchange of this kind. Reflecting back, Sarah, who is now 11, says that distinction made a difference. "I still would’ve felt bad, but knowing there were people five minutes away from me, I just felt awful."
She started Sarah’s Food Drive with a handwritten flyer that she distributed around the neighbourhood, urging people to donate food, which she would then give to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank. To her surprise, she collected more than 130 kilograms of food that year. In the drive’s fourth year, she got her school, Northlea, involved. Last year, the competition grew to include 3,000 students from six Toronto schools. The kids went into overdrive and raised a whopping 27,000 kilograms of food, making Sarah’s Food Drive one of the city’s biggest contributors to the food bank.
Along the way, Sarah, once too shy for public speaking, discovered her inner orator. An inspiration and role model to many, she now speaks to gatherings of hundreds of people, educating students and the media alike about local hunger.
Among those she has impacted is her younger sister, Claire, 8, who has now gotten involved in the food drive and even has her own section on Sarah’s website called Claire’s Corner, which she started earlier this year to educate people on what food items are most needed. “It makes me really happy to be inspiring my sister," says Sarah, who plans to continue the drive because, “Let’s face it, it’s not like hunger is going to go away next year." So, parents: Choose your words carefully. Even the most casual comment might inspire someone to take action and become a leader of tomorrow.
For more inspirational pieces like Sarah's, check out our 2014 Me to We Awards.
|This story was originally titled "Sarah Jordan" in the October 2014 issue. |
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