2017 Yarmouth High School
$1000 Mainely Character Scholarship
In just three years, Katie Waeldner made a difference for hungry families in Yarmouth, Maine. After watching a documentary about food insecurity, Katie resolved to do something. She began packing bags for Nutrition Closet, a weekend program for high school students. When she learned that children at the elementary school were not covered, she successfully applied for funding to expand.
In 2015 Katie was in on the ground floor when Yarmouth Community Services started Lunch Crunch, a summer food program for children. When she realized the program did not have enough resources for the entire summer, she took the initiative to go back to YCS and ask for additional funding. The following year, she volunteered to coordinate the program and expanded it to include breakfast, lunch, and weekend food bags.
Through her work, Katie came to understand the importance of access to healthy food for low income families. When the manager of the Yarmouth Farmers Market told her it would not be possible to start a subsidy program, Waeldner said, “Can I do it for you?” Calling Katie the moral conscience behind the program, she accepted the offer. Fresh produce is now available through five- and ten-dollar vouchers.
Katie Waeldner enrolled in Duke University, planning to study global health and public policy.