Kenzie Hinson has been making a difference in the lives of thousands of people in Wayne, Sampson and Johnston counties since she founded Make A Difference Food Pantry. Now she’ll be recognized for it on national television.
Kenzie will be the feature “Leading Lady” on The Harry Show Thursday at 2 p.m. eastern on CW22. Producers read about her work with the food pantry – which earned $20,000 from Tyson Foods to help her cause last year – and wanted to share her story of working to end hunger, according to Kenzie’s mom, Paige Dixon Hinson.
In its first year, Make A Difference Food Pantry grew from serving 35 families in a church fellowship hall to more than 1,000 people each month in a rented space at a former market on U.S. 13 South in Goldsboro. Now she regularly services more than 3,000 people.
And that’s not all Kenzie’s up to. She has Thursday food distributions, a food pantry for seniors, a weekend backpack program for low-income children and a kid’s cafe summer program. She fundraises to pay for all of the food she provides and to pay her rent and utility bills. She and her food pantry are partners with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina.
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Tyson Foods wasn’t the last company to recognize Kenzie, either. Food Lion presented her a $13,000 check and $13,000 worth of food from General Mills.
Kenzie, an eighth grader who is home schooled, said she hopes appearing on the show will inspire others to spread kindness and start a “Make A Difference movement: across the country, promoting teamwork and kindness.
Kenzie’s hoping to purchase the building she runs her pantry out of, start a food truck to help serve people who can’t get to the pantry and help feed people affected during disasters and to establish food pantries in every school, her mom said.
Kenzie was inspired to start the food pantry after giving a 4-H Club speech about hunger in her community. She said she was motivated to act after learning that one in three children and one in five elderly people in Wayne County don’t have enough to eat every day.
Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett