Every day, local youth are finding ways to give a voice to those less fortunate. Some volunteer, some advocate, some donate, and some are continuing to find unique ways to solve the problems local kids, families, and seniors in need face.
André Reyna was a very special young man who encompassed this. As a student at UCF and frequent volunteer for Second Harvest Food Bank and other local causes, André cared very deeply about helping those less fortunate, and about making sure that people had the basics of life available no matter their financial resources.
He had planned a life of public service and helping others. Unfortunately, his life was tragically cut short in a 2009 auto accident. Today, his memory and his spirit continue to motivate his family, friends, and many others throughout the community to get involved and make a difference. We give an award each year to honor André’s memory, and to recognize other young people who continue to work for others in the spirit that he demonstrated.
Enter Lauren Bautista.
While in high school, Lauren not only came into the Food Bank to volunteer in our warehouse, but also started a Virtual Food Drive over the holiday months. In 2014, she volunteered her time to seek out a match for her fundraiser, and spent her Sundays outside of church talking about food insecurity in her community, and inspired and moved her peers to make a difference. She made such an impact that year, that she turned around and did the entire thing over the following year. In two years, Lauren helped raised over $10,700.
Thanks to her hard work and dedication, kids, families, and seniors all over Central Florida now had access to nearly 43,000 meals. She is not only inspiring to us, she is a true Hunger Hero, and we are so happy to honor her with the André Reyna Youth Volunteer Award.
Digital Fundraising and Media Manager