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Akshara Shankar Named 2021 Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Recipient

Press Release

Akshara Shankar, Rising College Freshman / Holliston, MA

Holliston, MA student and Rising College Freshman at UC Berkeley is one of five students selected nationally as a 2021 Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Recipient. She was given the award for her great compassion and demonstrated impact in fighting hunger. 

While volunteering at a local food pantry, Akshara noticed a surplus of some food items, while others were always quickly taken. She also observed how allergy sufferers struggled to find appropriate and safe foods for creating healthy meals. 

In 2017, she created an online platform called ManyHandsFoodPantry to alleviate these specific difficulties for food pantries. Her initiative started with a local food pantry and expanded quickly across the state to over 23 pantries in months. 
The online platform alerts registered users and donors to the food needs of the various food pantries in the community. The donors can either collect the necessary items or purchase the needed goods and deliver them to the community food pantry. With the rise in food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Akshara saw a ten-fold increase in demand for her services. She also involved friends, teachers and peers to conduct more than 20 large scale drives in the Greater Boston Area. She also worked with the Jewish Family Services (JFS) to start FarmHelp to donate excess farm produce to pantries. She also conducted specific drives for gluten free products and connected with like-minded organizations and people to ensure that the needs of people with specific dietary requirements would be met.

Akshara will utilize the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger $5,000 grant award toward the Holliston Pantry Shelf and will continue expanding the Many Hands Food Pantry platform she founded.

2021 SCHOLARS | STOP HUNGER (stop-hunger.org)

Holliston Student’s Website Helps Connect Donors With Food Pantries – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com)

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