Madi Sutton may not be your typical 12-year-old, yet she has no supernatural powers and does not wear a cape. She is a young person on a mission, unafraid of hard work. Madi’s mission includes helping people in Henderson County who struggle with food insecurity and hunger on a regular basis.
Madi has been developing her green thumb the last two growing seasons, growing and donating most of her vegetables from her garden. To date she has donated 2890 pounds of fresh produce to those in need! That’s about 24 times the weight of an average 12-year-old female!
Last summer Madi started working with her church, First Baptist Church of East Flat Rock, a MANNA Partner Agency. Madi brings in what she gathers from her garden just before the first Tuesday of the month, distribution day .She helps with distribution as well as donating produce. This distribution is vital to those living in the East Flat Rock and greater Henderson County community.
How does she do it? When asked, Madi’s response was pragmatic, “I go by my grandparent’s example, read the research on the back of seed packets, and experiment”, which is good gardening advice for just about anyone.
Family tradition is a part of Madi’s inspiration, the idea of donating food started when her mother, Pam Sutton, told Madi about Katie’s Krops, a non-profit started by Katie Staglino that encourages kids to grow gardens. Fast forward and this year Madi was awarded Grower of the Year from Katie’s Krops. She was selected out of a field of 60 youth gardeners in 30 states for this award, which included a $500 scholarship.Congratulations Madi!
When Madi was asked what advice she would give to others on how to help feed hungry people, her words were wise beyond her 12 years. She said, “If you have enough, don’t scavenge through what you don’t want. Give your better stuff…even for one month… you may want to keep the better stuff…but it will feel good (to give it away) in the long run”.
Clearly, Madi has been learning to give from a caring examples in her community – one kid inspires another, a loving family member encourages working for others, a (church pantry) community exists as an outlet for giving and this little girl has a real connection to a lifetime of compassion. Her work may have helped save lives and improve health. When we each do our part, we can end hunger in WNC.
No telling who Madi may inspire… perhaps it’s YOU?!