Sam Harris, a student at Greenbrier High School, was honored at an awards banquet with an engraved bronze medallion to recognize his selection as a Distinguished Finalist for Arkansas in the 2014 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. He received a $2,500 "Food For All" grant from The Future Farmers of America and used it to fight hunger by teaching people in his community how to grow their own food.
Harris, Greenbrier FFA vice-president, is now a senior at GHS with a far-reaching vision of trying to solve hunger all over the nation — if not the world.
"I feel it’s my duty to mission to do that. It’s the least I can do to give back for all that we have," he said. "Even a small backyard or patio or container can help someone feed themselves with good wholesome, organic foods. People should know they don’t have to rely on grocery stores all the time for fresh groceries."
GHS purchased an indoor greenhouse which the FFA students used to help with their goal of providing 150 pounds of produce to the Greenbrier Senior Center. He led the FFA group in hosting workshops on container gardening and at-home food production and processing. They also held workshops on preserving and canning their produce to provide a longer, more sustainable supply of food for families.
Harris said, "Not only does this provide convenience, it creates a way for people of low income or like circumstances to store food for the winter months that contain the necessary nutrients for maintaining good health."
When Harris was just 16 he was invited to attend the prestigious World Food Prize Global Youth Institute for four days in Des Moines, Iowa. He attended speeches and learned from about 1,300 people from 65 countries gathered with more than 54 guest lecturers and World Food Prize Laureates and leaders in food, agriculture and international development. He was inspired to carry on the struggle to solve world hunger.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. All middle and high schools in the U.S., along with all Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of HandsOn Network, were eligible to select a student or member for a local Prudential Spirit of Community Award last November.
Two State Honorees — one middle school and one high school student — plus a select number of Distinguished Finalists from each state and the District of Columbia were selected based on criteria such as personal initiative, effort, impact and personal growth.