September 24, 2020 by Cathy Stack
Those affected from the hurricane in Bertie county received relief from a Mount Olive food pantry. Little did they know that the force behind this large operation is an energetic teenager named Mackenzie Hinson. When she first heard the news of the tornado, she just wanted to know how and when she could help. "It felt like a gut punch, if that makes any sense, 'cause I know what it feels like to be on the other side, when it feels like your whole life has been destroyed. We completely understand," she said.
Hinson herself endured similar devastation when Hurricane Florence flooded her food pantry’s old building. She was able to rebuild with the help of Team Rubicon, a disaster relief group. She felt the need to pay it forward and assist the group with their relief efforts. Hinson distributed toiletry bags for seniors, as well as bags full of peppers, eggplant, onion, potatoes, blackberries, apples and oranges for displaced residents.
“Since the pandemic started, we've done over 33,000 hot meals and over 200,000 pounds of food have come out of here," said Hinson. Her food pantry’s ambitious mission is to help eradicate hunger in her own community. She said her motto is, one meal and one family at a time. If anyone can accomplish this ambitious goal, it is Henson with her incredible energy, hard work and vision.
Henson’s drive was first recognized when she was only 10 years old and founded a non-profit called "Making a Difference Pantry". She strongly believes that no child should go hungry. Her inspiration was derived from her own family’s past hardships. Her mother had been stricken with an illness which led her to being unemployed and unable to make ends meet. The family thankfully found support within their community. Hinson wanted to share that blessing by aiding others who had also suffered an unexpected illness, accident, job loss or natural disaster. Hinson has impressively grown her operation and now works out of a warehouse more than 10,000 square feet in size.
Makenzie Henson has proven that there is no age requirement when it comes to making an enormous impact. Her extraordinary drive combined with her empathy has resulted in aid reaching thousands of families in need. Her sheer determination to get the job done clearly demonstrates the value of drive. PassItOn celebrates individuals like Henson who are determined to make a positive difference in their communities. Please help us honor her by sharing her inspiring story.
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