9-year-old girls save the world
December 13th, 2013
01:15 PM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

A few weeks ago, we spotlighted restaurants that said no kids allowed.

It turns out that several kids out there have things to do besides worry about getting shut out of steak houses in Pittsburgh or Mexican fish spots in Houston. They’re busy figuring out how to feed hungry children around the world, fight child slavery and get rid of Styrofoam.

So let’s have a big round of applause for these extraordinary kids, and support everything they’re doing.

Never Seconds: Feeding Hungry Kids
In Scotland, nine-year-old Martha Payne (pictured above) launched a blog, NeverSeconds, in April 2012 to document the poor nutritional quality of her school lunches (her ratings also cited “pieces of hair” she found in her food). The blog took off, and Payne used it as a platform to raise money to fund childhood nutrition programs in Africa and elsewhere. She has already raised almost $215,000 for Mary’s Meals, an international nonprofit that organizes feeding programs in schools in poor communities worldwide.

Her memoir "NeverSeconds: The Incredible Story of Martha Payne" is now available in paperback, and each copy sold donates funds to feed 25 schoolchildren in Malawi through Mary’s Meals. Jamie Oliver is a fan.

Make a Stand Lemon-Aid: Fighting Child Slavery

When she was eight, Vivienne Harr ran a lemonade stand for 365 days straight called Make a Stand Lemonade, in Marin County, California. Now she’s nine, and her project has become Make a Stand Lemon-aid, which donates 5 percent of its gross revenue to organizations that fight child slavery. When asked how one child can make a difference in the world, she says, “Gandhi was one person. Mother Teresa was one person. Why can’t you be one person who helps?”

The lemonade stand now exists as an online campaign through which you can buy the lemonade; it’s also available retail in the western US, to contribute to the cause.

Katie’s Krops: Gardening to Fight Hunger
When she was nine, Katie Stagliano’s third-grade garden project was to take care of a single cabbage plant. It grew to a massive 40 pounds. She donated the cabbage to a local soup kitchen, Tricounty Family Ministries, in North Charleston, South Carolina, which used it to feed more than 275 people. That cabbage became Stagliano’s inspiration to launch her nonprofit organization, Katie’s Krops. Now 14, she has helped create more than 60 gardens around the country to feed the hungry.

Katie’s Krops offers annual grants to kids ages 9 to 16 to start vegetable gardens and give the entire harvest to those in need (grantees decide where to donate the produce—homeless shelters, food banks, their school classmates, soup kitchens, neighbors and others).

Styrofoam Fighter
In summer of 2012, fifth grader Mia Hansen, of Carlsbad, California, launched a petition on Change.org asking the Jamba Juice smoothie chain to stop using Styrofoam cups. The petition read: “I’m 10 years old and when I was at Jamba Juice a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a smoothie and they gave it to me in a Styrofoam cup! The person behind me ordered yogurt and they gave her yogurt in a Styrofoam container, too. That’s just ridiculous. Styrofoam takes so long to break down into the earth. In the ocean, several animals think that this product is food, so when they go to eat it, the Styrofoam can kill them! Also, did you know 57 chemical by-products are released during the creation of Styrofoam? That is a lot of chemicals to safely dispose of. Jamba Juice does not use Styrofoam cups in some cities where the city doesn’t allow it, like Seattle. If they do that there, they can do it everywhere!”

She garnered 134,497 signatures, successfully prompting Jamba Juice to make a public commitment to stop using polystyrene cups by the end of 2013.

Healthy McDonald’s Campaigner

In May, nine-year-old Hannah Robertson attended McDonald’s annual shareholders’ meeting with her mom, Kia Robertson, a blogger about healthy food choices for kids, and members of the group Corporate Accountability International. Hannah was the first at the microphone when the floor was opened up to questions. “It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time,” she told McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson.

The group is campaigning to force McDonald’s to stop marketing to children through its mascot Ronald McDonald and Happy Meals.

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Filed under: Charity • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Food Politics

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. C. Fox

    I like my man to take control. I bow down to him, summit to him and call him sir. Grrrr

    December 20, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  2. Jack Sprat

    Looks like it is time for doing what CNN does best. Try to separate people into groups so they can pit them against one another.

    December 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  3. Joe

    More pro-feminist propaganda. From songs, to commercials, to the news, girls are worshiped in America. That would be fine if men were also worshiped. The problem? Men are bashed at the same time women are praised. Girls wear shirts from the time they are 6 years old that say "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them". They grow up watching commercials with fat, emasculated men guzzling beer and acting like a 10 yr old boy. Then the mature, glad to have found her wife steps in with all her glory to save him from himself. Thank god she's there! It says that women wear the pants and men are emasculated children. Women are intelligent and mature. What kind of message do you think that sends after decades and decades of brainwashing? Songs like Beyonce's "Who run the world (Girls)" replaced with men would be seen as sexist drivel. Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" song makes female violence against men seem cute and acceptable. Imagine a song about a man bashing a woman's car with a baseball bat? Wouldn't happen. TV shows follow the same script. Schools up through HS are completely dominated by women. Secretaries, teachers, aides, administration, counselors, etc. They all have their girl talk and gossip about each other while talking about how guys won't propose to them and how annoyed they are by men. This rubs off in the classroom. Boys are losing their fathers at alarming rates being raised by single mothers. The best predictor of criminal activity is coming from a single parent home.

    This is a real problem.

    December 16, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Antifeminist

      While your comments may be out of place in this article, what you are saying is very much true. There is an ongoing and escalating war against males. It is much more than females getting "equality", which they already have (and then some) legally speaking. They will not stop until males are second -class citizens. It is very possible our grandsons will be fighting the same fight that women were fighting 70 years ago.

      December 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      These are little girls. Lauding the amazing, thoughtful, selfless work they have done is not kicking their 9-year-old male counterparts in the shins. It's not lessening them, it's not thwarting them, it's not emasculating them. It's giving credit where it's due.

      I have absolutely no idea where some of you are getting the idea that "never praising boys" is an actual thing that actually happens, but that's so crazily far from the truth. No one is coming to steal your toys - we just want to just to level the playing field.

      Honestly, if the women in your life feel happier, valued and respected, how *wouldn't* that make your life better?

      December 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Aimee

      Awww, poor baby can't take it...Why are you so intimidated by women? Mommy not give you enough attention when you were growing up?

      December 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
      • RingoSchplingo

        Aimee – Judging by the childish, mocking tone of your reply and the fact that you implicity agree with what Joe states is happening, it would seem as though you have a problem with men.

        Might you have had one rejection too many to end up reacting this way to the opposite sex?

        December 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • RingoSchplingo

      I agree entirely with your post Joe, this is a real problem and a ticking timebomb for the next generation, it's effects are starting to be felt now with the already high (and increasing male suicide rate), relatively poor achievement of boys relative to girls in school and also the difficult that increasing numbers of women are experiencing in finding a suitable partner (women marry/partner across, up but rarely down).

      Anyone interested in this – look at the the "stereotype threat" article in Wikipedia to understand how constantly portraying males as pathetic and incapable whilst at the same time lauding all that is feminine and portraying females and intelligent, confident and successful (coupled with an almost completely female education system with so few male role models and mentors) can have a major negative impact on a generation of boys/young men at the beginning of understanding who and what they are and what society expects them to be.

      December 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
  4. KieranH

    Yes, breasts have always fed the world....

    December 16, 2013 at 7:32 am |
    • Thread Patrol

      You felt the need to go there on an article about a 9 y.o. girl?

      December 16, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  5. Joanne

    Great article, always good to hear of youngster getting involved in current day issues.

    December 15, 2013 at 1:45 am |
  6. Valerie

    Wonderful girls making a difference in helping to heal a wounded world. I am sure there are just as many examples of our very young males doing the same. Let's hear about them as well! I think it is greatly important to support both sexes, as we leave this world to ALL young people.

    December 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  7. preach it

    sounds like Mike needs to grow up.

    December 14, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  8. Mike

    NO problem with calling out the virtues of some individual girls.

    BIG problem with constantly telling us what's great about females, and NEVER mentioning what 's great about males, along with the exact opposite – for about 40 years now. The people who do this act as though it's still a new thing, as though we've never heard of it before.

    And, misandry still isn't a recognized word. That, my friends, is power. When you have an influence on this culture to the extent that women now do, and can still get away with pretending that you don't – that's MAJOR power. But, the source of that power stems from the belief that women still have no power. So, it's very important to remain silent about that.

    December 14, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Melanie

      Mike: your "issue" is not even true, we still incessantly praise male figures. The difference is that no one feels the need to point out their gender. Men have enjoyed a permanent seat as Ruler of Western Society for hundreds (arguably thousands) of years. We women are simply trying to play catch-up, and grab the respect we deserve for our talents, because there are some out there who still believe we are an inferior gender. "40 years" is not going to topple the massive, massive power your gender has over leadership, culture, and even women's bodies. So enjoy your dominance right now, but know that it is fair and correct that all people be equipped to achieve their goals, and to be recognized for doing so.

      December 15, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • kwdragon

        Well said, Melanie. Here here!

        December 15, 2013 at 11:04 am |
        • Chris

          Actually, no, not well said. Not well said at all.

          In case you haven't noticed, boys education is crisis.

          20% more girls are graduating high school than boys. 25% more women are graduating college than men. 4 times more boys are committing suicide than girls.

          Yup, the media tells girls that they need to always be pretty and thin and that's bad. However, commercials are continually telling boys that men are stupid, lazy and evil, beer guzzling fools who need women to tell them how to operate a vacuum cleaner.

          They go to school an the 90% female teachers regularly tell them that men are responsible for all of the problems of the world, so they tune out, turn to pot, video games, Internet porn, gangs, suicide.

          I mentor boys.

          And no, just because men have done awful things to women in the past doesn't mean that boys now should be suffering for the sins of their grandfathers or that girls now should be having unfair advantages.

          Not well said at all.

          Always praising girls as a gender and never praising boys as a gender as taken a HUGE toll over the last 20 years.

          This sexism is every bit as bad as what men have done – and less justifiable, since feminists have been claiming that they understand the toll of sexism and have been claiming right along the lines that they are the champions of gender equality.

          Not well said at all!

          December 16, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Rick

        "Men have enjoyed a permanent seat as Ruler of Western Society for hundreds (arguably thousands) of years"

        I guess that is why the majority of high school drop outs are boys, not girls. And that 80% of suicides are men and boys... not girls and women. And that has to be the reason that 90% of work related deaths, injuries and illnesses are men not women. That must be why our prisons are full of men, not women and why alcohol and drugs and homelessness are male problems not female problems. It must be why men in the West die on average 6 years sooner than women. It has to be the reason that men are far more likely to be victims of violence than women. It also must account for men paying the majority of taxes but receiving fewer benefits than women (such as government pensions and healthcare) And I would note too that this male advantage must account for the fact that it is men that get conscripted around the world to go off and be cannon fodder while women sit at home on their duffs. I won't even get into the prejudice of the family courts and criminal courts when it comes to genders.

        Poor women... they have it so tough and men have it so easy.

        December 21, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Ruby

      You want whine with that?

      December 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • The Stig

      " ...BIG problem with constantly telling us what's great about females, and NEVER mentioning what 's great about males, "
      Don't need to tell you what's great about males. Most males will do it themselves ... LOUDLY.

      December 16, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Ann

      I agree with Mike to a certain extent. Think about how men are portrayed on TV .. commercials in particular. They're bumbling idiots who fall apart when they have a cold, have to watch their own kids, etc. "Mom" has to come to the rescue because they can't figure out for themselves which cough medicine to buy, or how to feed a kid.

      December 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  9. sir

    good lord. break out the vomit bags.

    December 14, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • UriNation

      I love recycling!

      December 15, 2013 at 1:29 am |
  10. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    I read the story of the girl in Scotland before. Was it here?

    December 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  11. Truth™

    Good for them!
    While it is easy to think that everything in the world is only going south, it is nice to see articles like this. Best to these young ladies!

    December 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
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