Heart of goldPublished 9:04am Tuesday, April 1, 2014
AHOSKIE – Over the life of its existence, the Ahoskie Food Pantry has received individual donations measured in at least four figures.
However, it was a simple $75 gift from a local 13-year-old that proves it’s not the number of zeros behind the financial gift, but rather the size of the donor’s heart.
David Liverman of Powellsville was the recent recipient of $75 for his winning effort in an essay contest sponsored by the Murfreesboro Rotary Club. Those choosing to participate in essay were asked to address child hunger in the local area.
Liverman’s essay began with stating the facts….unemployment numbers in Hertford County; the lack of high-paying jobs locally; and a growing number of local families needing to be added to federal assistance programs just to survive.
“The unemployment rate has affected local children,” David wrote in his essay. “Some children are going hungry and don’t have anything to eat at home because of this.
“Hunger has been proven in studies to reduce children’s performance at school,” David’s essay continued. “One way schools can help assist hunger prevention is connecting with programs like summer meals. Schools can also provide needy children with bagged dinners which consist of a fruit and a small sandwich. I personally believe children should not go hungry in a modern industrialized nation such as America.”
The Ridgecroft School eighth-grader noted that more people should become advocates for the less fortunate and for those unsure of from where their next meal will come.
“We must alert others of the deplorable situation that is at our doorstep. Once our friends, neighbors and communities become aware they may be more willing to donate to churches, schools and local food banks,” David’s essay stated.
The youngster researched the material for his award-winning essay. He has a love for reading, and studying history. David’s career ambition is to become an Ornithologist, the science of studying birds.
He could have opted to use his winnings to invest in a nice pair of binoculars for use in his love of bird watching. However, David felt the money could be put to better use to help feed the hungry.
“I suggested (to parents, Billy and Tina Liverman) that we give it to the (Ahoskie) Food Pantry,” he said.
“He actually suggested that before he was notified (of his winning effort),” said his proud mom. “He said that if he won, he wanted to donate the money to the Food Pantry.”
Bill and Carolyn Arrington, representing the Ahoskie Food Pantry located at First Presbyterian Church, accepted David’s monetary gift.
“We will apply this money to our Backpack program,” said Carolyn Arrington.
That program, developed in 2011, works with school personnel to fill qualifying children’s backpacks with juice, boxed milk, cereal, fruit, packaged dinners and snacks for weekend consumption. In its infancy, the program served only 16 children. Bill Arrington said that number now stands at 78.
“It’s been as high as 84 children,” Bill Arrington stated. “It changes all the time. We even went as far as to hand out different backpacks….that way they wouldn’t look all the same and prevent other students from signaling out the recipients of this program as the poor kids.”
David’s essay pointed out that 27.6 percent of North Carolina’s children are categorized as hungry.
“When children do not have to worry about food they have a fair academic playing field. It will build goodwill and better friendships because the hungry children will know someone cares for them. This plan would benefit all concerned because it would raise awareness and feed the hungry,” David’s essay concluded.
Even in victory, David wanted to give kudos to the second and third place winners – Taylor Jenkins and Andy DiLustro, both students at Ridgecroft School – in the essay contest.
“It was a tight competition,” David remarked.
The competition was tight, but David wasn’t with his money. Due to his thoughtful consideration of others, a less-fortunate youngster in Hertford County may wake up this morning without feeling hunger pains.