Armani with the stuffed animals she raised with her classmates.
Armani McFarland, a student at Majestic Elementary, wanted to help when her teacher told her some kids go to bed hungry, so she started a food drive. But she didn't start small—she wanted to feed as many kids as possible.
"I collected over 1,000 pounds of food," Armani says. "I talked to my principal, and I set up a bin at the school and sent out flyers to every kid. We also talked to the manager at a grocery store and stood outside with flyers asking people if they'd like to donate." To bring in even more food, bins were set up at a local police station and Elite Gymnastics in Ogden.
But she didn't stop with food. "When I was delivering the food to Catholic Community Services, they told me that they do a backpack drive every year," she says. Armani took on the cause and raised 190 backpacks filled with school supplies her first year and 612 the next year. She also held other drives to raise 100 books and 460 coats. All of Armani's drives have benefitted many local shelters and outreach centers.
Recently, Armani worked with her classmates to raise 953 stuffed animals and delivered them to police and fire stations.
Along with collecting donations, Armani volunteers weekly at Alpine Outreach Center with a close friend.
Only 10 years old, she is being awarded for giving back by Catholic Community Services, along with other humanitarians, at the 2013 Humanitarian Awards Dinner. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Little America Hotel in SLC (click here for more info).
"It feels very good to help," Armani says. "I got to pass out the backpacks to the kids, so I got to see their faces. There was one little girl who put the backpack on and danced around with a big smile on her face like it was Christmas morning."
When Armani grows up, she hopes to continue doing the work she's doing now. "She usually gets a little bit overwhelmed throughout her drive, but she doesn't want to ever give up or stop," says Armani's mother Cassidy. "She always wants to do another one when she's done."
And Armani wants other kids to get involved in humanitarian work, too. "Everyone can help," she says. "Everyone can make a change."