For some people it’s big ideas that change the world, but for 16-year-old Katie Stagliano, all it took was to see the impact one 40-pound cabbage could have on an entire community to spark her mission… to feed America’s hungry.
When Katie was in third grade, as part of a school project, she planted a cabbage seedling in her backyard. She tended to it every day, watering it and watching it grow, until finally, it had ballooned to an enormous 40 pounds.
In thinking about what to do with the massive leafy green, Katie decided to donate it to a soup kitchen in her hometown of Summerville, South Carolina, which helped to feed over 275 people. Moved by the experience of seeing how many people could benefit from just one cabbage, Katie wondered how many people a whole garden could feed.
She said, “As I served my cabbage to the guests at the soup kitchen, and they thanked me for helping to feed them, I knew I could and I should do more to help.” With the support of family and friends, Katie then went on to build several vegetable gardens, and donated the harvest to help feed more people in need. And just like that, Katie’s Krops was born.
Six years later, the non-profit organization has grown far bigger than Katie could have ever imagined. Through its website, Katie’s Krops has raised closed to $200,000. These donations are used to give grants to other kids (ages 9-16) to grow vegetables and feed the hungry in their communities. Today, there are 75 youth-run gardens in 27 states. Katie’s goal now… 500 gardens in 50 states.
Katie knows that she won’t be able to feed the entire world, but that isn’t stopping her from trying, “I know that hunger is way too big for one person to take on, but you never know what can grow from just one thing.”