Maria Rose Belding, a freshman at American University who founded and heads a nonprofit that connects food banks and emergency feeding systems with food donors, is the winner of the 2015 President William Jefferson Clinton Hunger Leadership Award.
Co-sponsoring the $1,500 award are Stop Hunger Now, an international relief agency that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable people, and the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service at North Carolina State University.
“For so long we have focused on can drives and doing good,” says Belding. “We must now turn our focus to doing well. We cannot donate our way out of hunger or spend our way out of poverty.”
MEANS (Matching Excess and Need for Stability), the nonprofit Belding founded and heads, is active in five states, and its users represent or are integrated into the supply chains of roughly 815 emergency feeding-system facilities.
Belding and her business partner also have won $60,000 in a national competition, and will use the funds to invest in and market their software.