Howell HS grad wins Victory Growers essay contest

Casey Haggerty, FoodCorps Service Member serving with Groundwork Center

Howell native and Howell High School graduate Casey Haggerty, a FoodCorps AmeriCorps service member serving in Petoskey, Mich., was selected as the winner of the sixth annual national Victory Growers essay contest.

Haggerty is serving full time for FoodCorps AmeriCorps in the Pellston Public and Boyne Falls Public schools districts through Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

In commemoration of National Hunger Action Month, C&S Wholesale Grocers, the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S., joins FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that connects kids to healthy food in schools, to announce the winners of this year’s Victory Growers essay contest.

Haggerty’s winning essay challenges readers to rethink the implications of a beloved childhood tradition: snow days. When her schools experienced a staggering 11 snow days in one year, she realized many of her students spent 11 extra days hungry.

“For every snow day,” she writes, “any residual, childhood excitement I felt at the prospect of a day off was tempered by a twisting feeling in my gut for the kids who would not get a decent meal that day.”

In response to Haggerty’s winning essay, C&S Wholesale Grocers awarded her FoodCorps service site, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, with a $5,000 donation. Groundwork has been a valued partner site with FoodCorps since the organization’s inaugural program year in 2011.

“Over the past seven years, Groundwork has hosted eight service members, and all but two have chosen to remain in northern Michigan, continuing to work toward making this region a more healthful, resilient community,” said Meghan McDermott, Groundwork’s food and farming program director and a FoodCorps alum.

FoodCorps Michigan is part of a national service program that teaches children about healthy eating through three main areas of service: hands-on learning, healthy school meals, and a schoolwide culture of health. There are currently 17 FoodCorps service members serving full-time in 27 schools across Michigan in Petoskey, Traverse City, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Flint, Ferndale,and Detroit.

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