12-year-old girl the driving force behind Goldsboro food pantry

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – While most of her peers are into shopping, social media and other extracurricular activities, a Goldsboro girl is organizing a food pantry that serves hundreds of people each month.

Twelve-year-old Mackenzie Hinson organized the pantry last year, serving about 30 people at a church fellowship hall. Now she rents space and serve more than 1,200 families each month.

UPDATE: 12-year-old Goldsboro girl receives $20,000 grant to run her food pantry

Mackenzie, who has garnered support from Food Lion, Panera Bread and CVS, said she was inspired after volunteering at other pantries and learning the statistics of kids that are starving.

So, she started Make A Difference Food Pantry. “When I see the smiles on their faces, I forget everything if I’ve had a bad day,” Hinson said.

The 7th grader is state certified, and the recipient of many service awards but she is passionate about serving others.

Mackenzie’s mom says she develops a special bond with everyone.

“She knows mostly everybody that comes in here by name,” said Paige Hinson. “If they’re new, she’ll probably know them the next time’

Mackenzie’s rent is $1,300 dollars a month to rent a 2,400 square-foot space. About 90 percent of her operating costs come from fundraising.

“I fund raise at local restaurants like Zaxby’s in Smithfield,” Mackenzie said. “Kelly Smith, the owner, asked me if I could do a fundraiser once a month.”

The 12-year-old is also determined to reach even greater heights. “I want it to be a warehouse, a 10,000-square-foot warehouse, that’s what I want it to be.”

This weekend, the pantry will host a Father’s Day BBQ event with a meal provided by Tyson Foods, which says it has a surprise for Mackenzie.

Father’s Day Weekend BBQ Competition Cook-off

Saturday, June 18, 2016
Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds
2801 US-117, Dudley, NC 28333

Grab your smoker, your kids and join us as we support the Make A Difference Food Pantry with a great day of food, fun, family friendly activities and fellowship. Teams will be comprised of one parent and their child/children, but the whole family is welcome to attend!

7 a.m. Teams arrive and begin cooking
11:30 a.m. Complimentary hot dogs and hamburgers served courtesy of Tyson Foods*
12 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. OSR band plays live
12:30 p.m. Chicken entry is due
1:30 p.m. Pork entry is due
2:30 p.m. Winners are announced
3 p.m. Special presentation honoring the Make A Difference Food Pantry

Entry fee: $50 with all proceeds going to the Make A Difference Food Pantry

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners
Teams will cook chicken leg quarters and pork baby back ribs provided by Tyson Foods.

Contact Paige Hinson at 919-330-8202 for more information and to register.
Please bring one non-perishable food item to donate to the food pantry .

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