From Hungry to Hero
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Brittany Amano came from humble beginnings.
"I grew up with a single mom, raised by my mom and my grandmother. Nobody in my family graduated high school" she recalls.
In and out of poverty, homelessness and the foster system growing up, the Hawaii Foodbank served as security--and inspiration for her.
"We really relied on the Foodbank. I just wanted to give back to them, so I started small food drives, started a walkathon, small fundraisers just to give back".
That inspiration blossomed. At the age of 12, she formed a non-profit.
"When I was a kid I just wanted to raise $1000 dollars. Now we've just been able to impact over 100,000 people throughout the state, which is just over 11% of the population".
Originally named 'Hawaii's Futuer isn't Hungry', the organization has been rebranded as 'The Future isn't Hungry'. The reason is because it's been so successful, it's about to go national. Amano says the non-profit just launched in New York, and will be in all 50 states by this summer.
Additionally, Brittany was just named a recipient of the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service by a person under the age of 25 in the hunger and poverty section. The honor is among the nation's distinguished in the field---but it's more than just a pat on the back.
"Instead of just giving me this medal, they wanted to bring my project to all 50 states and wanted to accredit the whole country--and to inspire other youth to get involved".
The resulting collaboration has brought more resources, and higher aspirations. Brittany's goal is to impact 625,000 people by December. She'll work towards that end from Massachusetts, where she's attending one of the country's most prestigious prep schools, Phillips Andover. After a post-graduate year, she'll head off to college, where she's weighing a full scholarship from Duke.
Brittany's past may have been humble---her future, however, is anything but.
"Definitely just want to come and continue making a difference. Whether that's in the non-profit sector, the for-profit sector, government sector. As long as I'm making a notable difference I'll be happy what I'm doing."
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