We have all had that moment where we hear a statistic on the news and cringe. Across the world and even in our own backyards, there are unfortunate truths that, when brought to light, evoke feelings of compassion and a desire to serve. Most of us however, are unable to turn these feelings into action. We are paralyzed by the scale of the situation, and we think that the world’s problems are too big for one person to solve.
Thankfully, there are individuals who seize such opportunities and are determined to make a difference. Eleven-year-old Langston Peoples is one of these individuals. So when Langston learned that 1 in 4 kids in his hometown of Winston-Salem were in danger of going hungry, he immediately wanted to find a way to help. “I was thinking about what my Grandfather Thata says a lot. He says, ‘There is always someone who needs our help. It is our task in life to find a way to help.’”
With his Grandfather’s words playing in his mind, Langston began brainstorming with his mom, Sahana Peoples, about ways he could help. Pretty soon, Langston was putting his thoughts into action. He set up a neighborhood food collection program to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, and now has the designation of Block Captain. Block Captains are essential to the Second Harvest Food Bank, because it is their consistent, year-round effort that helps avoid shortages.
I am lucky enough to be one of Langston’s neighbors, so I have seen him in action for well over a year now. The neighborhood knows him now as the Food Dude, a nickname he uses in his monthly reminders. Langston coordinates monthly pick-ups in our neighborhood. To date, he has collected 2,379 pounds of food! But Langston has not stopped there. In addition to collecting monthly donations for the Food Bank, Langston also saw a need at Vienna Elementary School, where he is a 5th grade student. Langston learned that some of his fellow students were at risk of going hungry when they were not in school. So Langston coordinated additional food pick-ups, requesting items that were specifically intended to go into the “Weekend Backpacks”, which are packed with food and sent home with the kids who need them each Friday.
Langston “The Food Dude” Peoples has made an incredible impact in a very short period of time, and his passion and dedication to service suggest that this is just the beginning. It’s people like Langston that make us all grin, and that is why he is the Grins Person of the Month!