By Heather Collins
This summer, Carmel High School senior Nicole DiDonna began volunteering at the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank to fulfill service hours for school clubs. But after seeing firsthand the impact of food insecurity in Hamilton County and the families that visited the food bank, she decided she wanted to go above and beyond her call to service.
“I just thought what if my family was in that position?” DiDonna said. “I just really wanted to do more. The need is so great throughout the entire year.”
DiDonna began raising funds for the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank through a letter-writing campaign to neighbors and friends and family, door-to-door awareness and cookie baking over the summer. In August, DiDonna presented a $3,000 check to the food bank.
“We were so impressed with (DiDonna’s) initiative and can-do spirit,” said Anita Hagen, president of the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank. “She saw a need this summer and immediately started planning a way to help. The monetary contribution to our programming needs and the Food Bank operations is wonderful, but much more importantly it shows that compassion does not have an age limit and all of us can help those in need, right here in our community.”
A majority of the funds were raised through DiDonna’s cookie-baking campaign. DiDonna would sell a dozen homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in exchange for a donation. DiDonna said donations ranged from $5 to more than $100.
“I learned that anyone can make a difference in the community, even by doing small things,” she said.
DiDonna will be recognized during the Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank’s Harvest Haul 5K Oct. 21. She is the only individual sponsor for the event.