(207) 464-4800

We are honored to give the 2022 Food Charter Champion Award for Leadership to Summit Woodcock.

Summit is an 11 year old resident of Livermore Falls, and rising 7th grader at Spruce Mountain Middle School, where earlier this year she spearheaded an effort to create and sustain a food pantry to serve any student in need. Summit is described by her nominator, Cathy Bartlett Gray, as “an energetic, well-spoken advocate for social issues affecting youth today,” “an active 4-H member”, and someone “who is eager to solve community problems when she sees them.

Over her 6th grade year, Summit began to gain an awareness that there were kids in her school who were not getting enough to eat, and that it was not easy for those kids to ask for help. For example, Summit observed that teachers at her school were paying for snacks out of their own pockets due to need. Working with Denise Acretelli, a teacher who is also passionate about food security for students, Summit developed plans for a food pantry that would offer easy to access food that is nutritious, yet discrete. Summit made a proposal to school staff and got permission to proceed. 

Additionally, she made several public presentations, including to her local school board, to raise awareness for the specific need and the project she started which she called “Feeding Phoenix” after her school’s mascot. “One in six children in Maine go to bed hungry,” she told Regional School Unit 73 Directors on Thursday, March 10, 2022. “Food insecurity is defined by USDA as a lack of access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Food insecurity is something children should not have to think or worry about.”  Summit raised over $1000 to help fund the pantry from donations and a 4-H grant. One significant donation came from her presentation to the Greater Federations of Women’s Clubs of Maine where she was asked to speak about a previous project, The Buddy Bench. The group was impressed with her activism and wanted to support her newest endeavor, Feeding Phoenix, so they gave her $500 to get started.

Important priorities for the food pantry are that it is customized to meet individual student need, as well as being anonymous and discreet.  To support this, Summit helped devise an online ordering and delivery system based on an existing model for second-hand clothing for students created by teachers in Oxford County, Maine called “Pink Feather”. The Feeding Phoenix model allows for students to “shop” online for the food items they want and need in an anonymous way.  Summit explained that the process starts when a homeroom teacher recommends a student, or a student approaches a teacher.  The student is provided with a current food list where they make selections, it is then entered into an online form anonymously. Once submitted, someone (usually a student pantry volunteer) is notified and packs the bag of items and delivers it to the homeroom teacher. In this system, only one teacher is aware of the identity of the student seeking support. 

Another important aspect of the food pantry is that it is sustainable. To support this, Summit ensured that students/peers help maintain the pantry through volunteering. With the peers-helping-peers model, youth are better able to empathize with one another and learn to understand needs that they can help meet.  “It was definitely a learning curve,” said Summit of their efforts to start up the pantry. Trying to figure out the logistics of supporting the ongoing operations of the pantry though extra time from teachers and volunteer student hours was challenging. “There were a few times that I had to miss track practice”, she said for example, “but it was going to a good cause.”

The food pantry got started at the end of the school year in Spring 2022, but still managed to serve 200 bags of food.  The 2022-2023 school year will be the first full school year that the pantry operates.  “It has taken time for students to determine that it was a safe place for them to get food,” Summit shared. “It’s not something that students are open about, especially in middle school.”  Summit is looking forward to helping the food pantry thrive this year and next, while she is a student at Spruce Mountain Middle. “We definitely want to get more student feedback as the pantry goes on,” she said.  When asked what excites her most about the future of the effort, Summit said when she goes on to high school in two years, she hopes the pantry is still running, and can look back and feel good about a program she worked hard to support that is still continuing to help people.

ABOUT: Each year, the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn hosts the Food Charter Champion Awards by celebrating the contributions of five individuals or groups from the greater Lewiston-Auburn area who strive to create a more vibrant and healthy food system from farm-to-fork. Those honored with awards ‘lead by example’ in one, or more, of the five principles of the LA Community Food Charter. Learn more about the other 2022 Food Charter Champion Award winners here.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news from Good Food Council of L-A

You have Successfully Subscribed!