Pine Forest High School senior starts food bank to help defeat hunger

ABC11 Together highlights the strength of the human spirit, good deeds, community needs, and how our viewers can help
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- ABC11 together is highlighting a high school senior who is leaving a legacy at her school.

Grace Gardner saw many of her classmates going hungry on the weekends, so she decided to do something to help.

What started as a collection drive for disaster victims abroad, turned into an effort to defeat hunger at home.

"During Hurricane Maria or school we really banded together to send things to Puerto Rico that they might need," said Gardner. "I was just thinking how there's a lot of people at our school that don't know when their next meal is going to come outside of school."

Rather than waiting on an adult to approve another drive, Gardner came up with the idea for a food pantry.

The pantry is tucked away inside a small classroom on the second floor.

"When we were coming up with the idea that was something that we really wanted to focus on, that and the anonymity of it, so we don't want a student to feel like 'if I go here everyone in the school is going to know,'" said Gardner.

Building a food pantry from the ground up proves the senior has the heart, but shes also has the smarts too.

"My dream job is pediatric surgery that's where I wanna end up," said Gardner.

With thousands in scholarship money, she'll accomplish that goal too.

"I'll be attending ECU and majoring in biochemistry," she said.

From building a food pantry to excelling in the classroom, Gardner has cultivated the groundwork for success, inspiring her peers in the process.

"We've had so much support from the students from the teachers and just everything," said Gardner
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