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Teen decides to help community drives give more nutritional options than canned food to the needy

She is investing immense hard work and sweat to give nutritional options at food drives, where mostly people are served canned goods.

Teen decides to help community drives give more nutritional options than canned food to the needy
Cover Image Source: YouTube | ABC News

Age is no bar when one has an honest heart and intention to help others. Lauren Schroeder from Iowa proved this by providing 7,000 pounds of produce to the people in need, per The Washington Post. The Iowa teen thought of doing this after seeing the condition of supplies at a community food drive. She saw that despite best efforts, the supplies were not exactly nutritious to people coming there for food and decided to bring a change. In order to do that, she invested several hours of hard work and sweat with a little help along the way.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Engin Akyurt
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Engin Akyurt


 

During the food drive, Schroeder saw how it was filled with just boxed and canned goods. “I thought it would be great to change that,” said Lauren, now 17. “I wanted people to get the nutrition they needed from fresh vegetables.” After requesting her parents, she got a half-acre of land to work with and immediately put it to use. The student began farming there despite having no considerable knowledge of the process.



 

Schroeder began by planting 15 different varieties of vegetables on the land. Some were harder to handle than others, like beans requiring a lot of bending to pick. "I didn't realize how much bending was required for green beans," she said. "But they're still my favorite vegetable." Her first batch was 40 pounds, which she excitedly donated to local groups. "It was a really good feeling to know that anyone who wanted fresh vegetables would be able to get them," she added.

She put her all into this endeavor and to improve the process, she did a lot of research on agriculture. Slowly, she began improving and cultivated almost 7,000 pounds of produce with a market value of around $15,000. All of this produce went straight to food banks and non-profits in the Quad Cities area like Carroll Assistance Center, Wheatland Nursing Home, Café on Vine, River Bend Food Bank, Lost Nation Food Pantry, Family Resources, Lady of the Prairie and Community Action of Eastern Iowa, per Good News Network.

Schroeder's endeavors gained popularity, reaching the ears of Future Farmers of America (FFA). FFA is an organization that encourages students interested in pursuits like agriculture and leadership. Finding out how Schroeder was using farming to bring a change in her community, they decided to support her by giving a small grant for the best quality supplies and seeds. Her younger siblings also showed up to work on the land along with her. Every day, she religiously puts in 2 to 3 hours on the field for watering and deweeding just so that people get nutritious food in their diet.



 

Jenna Kingsley, an FFA adviser at Calamus-Wheatland High School, appreciated the endeavor and said, "Lauren's project truly comes from the heart. Her innate self-confidence and generous hand to help those in need has left an impact larger than she could have imagined." This year, Schroeder's land welcomed 10 more varieties, which included herbs, pumpkins, cauliflower and jalapeños.

Nancy Renkes, president and CEO of River Bend Food Bank in Davenport, also had a lot of gratitude for Schroeder and her commitment. "Not only is she helping our mission of ending hunger, she demonstrates the selflessness and philanthropy that is so wonderful to see in younger people," Renkes said. Schroeder is planning to go to college next year and take up diagnostic medical sonography. But before that, she wants to grow another 13,000 pounds of produce and bring her veggie total to 20,000 pounds.

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