Twelve Years-Old and Already Making a Difference


Red Cross delivers donated food to Make A Difference Food Pantry, founded by Mackenzie Hinson.

Story and photos by Greta Gustafson/American Red Cross

Mackenzie “Kenzie” Hinson is doing more for her community at 12 years-old than most people do in a lifetime. One week before her 11th birthday, Hinson founded Make a Difference Food Pantry in Goldsboro, N.C. after making a speech at 4H on the hunger problem in her community.

“I wanted to give people choice,” said Hinson


Hinson in front of her office door at Make a Difference Food Pantry

on how her pantry is different than others. The Make a Difference Food Pantry is set up like a grocery store, allowing people the freedom to select what they need and want.


The American Red Cross is partnering with Hinson’s Make a Difference Food Pantry to help distribute the food donations, that were given to the Red Cross, out into the community to those in need. Hinson visited the Red Cross warehouse to select the items she thought her thousands of recipients could utilize most.


Kinzie scans the Red Cross warehouse determining which donated items to have delivered to her pantry.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store!” she exclaimed, skipping through the warehouse, picking out pallets of cereal, nuts and fruit snacks. Hinson may have business savvy beyond her years, but she still has the energy of a child.


Hinson’s mom, Paige Dixon Hinson, believes one of the reasons her daughter’s nonprofit does so well is because of her child-like optimism and firm belief everything will work out. Hinson’s personality shows through in her pantry, with its bright colors and hand-painted signs


Make a Difference Food Pantry is set up like a grocery store.

The thousands of snacks the Red Cross is working with Hinson to distribute will go directly back to Wayne County community members in need through her weekly distributions, home cooked meals, the Back Pack Buddy Kids and the Senior Mobile Pantry programs.

Both Mackenzie and her mom agreed that disasters may be terrible, but they really bring communities together, provide the opportunity to forge new partnerships, and showcase the generosity of the American people.





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