Twenty-three tons is no match for Lily, one of our super-sheroes! That’s the amount of rice that was collected with her determination and dedication to ending Bay Area hunger.
Like most other teenagers, Lily’s very busy with her schoolwork, her favorite class being band, where she plays the French horn. And she loves to play classical guitar, hang out with her friends and listen to Billy Eilish and the AJR Band. What’s different is that Lily is a major fundraiser for good!
When Lily was just six years old, she began appealing for donations to buy gifts and clothes for foster kids and homeless youth through her own nonprofit, www.givewithlily.com. From there, she expanded to helping feed the hungry. Her desire to help those facing hunger was, in part, spurred one Halloween when she saw other kids collecting cans of food while trick or treating. Lily joined in and got over 90lbs of cans.
Her commitment continued to grow in 6th grade when several classes competed to get the most canned food donations; When her class was coming in dead last, she stepped up to collect money to buy 1,100 cans of food! There wasn’t any rule against doing that, and she wanted to win–and that’s just what they did due to Lily’s ingenuity and determination.
Supersizing her donations
Lily realized that she could get more bang for her buck if she bought food in bulk for donations to the local food banks. She researched and cold-called rice distributors while collecting money to purchase and deliver the rice. The bulk rice provider informed her that $1000 would get her one ton of rice.
A week later, she called the rice supplier back, and they generously told her that now she could get two tons. While working out the delivery details, she called them again and was pleasantly surprised to find out that she would get three tons for $1,000! She quickly mailed the check and arranged the delivery while raising more money. After a couple of weeks, she noticed that her check had not been cashed and started to worry that something was wrong. When she talked with them, they said, “The rice is on us, and we’re going to tear up the check!” Lily was pleasantly surprised by their continued generosity, and now she had $1,000 to get more rice.
Once again, Lily was determined to maximize the amount of rice she could get for her money. This time, she went directly to a larger California rice distributor and bought three additional rice tons. Now she had six tons and arranged its delivery to us in December 2018.
As you can tell by now, once Lily figures out how to beat her record, she keeps going. Between July 2019 and January 31, 2020, she bought and arranged delivery for another seventeen tons of rice, making her total twenty-three tons! The rice was not just for our foodbank, but also for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and Second Harvest. We were thrilled to bag it for the other food banks. Lily was thrilled and grateful that her donors trusted her with their money and helped her with logistics.
When asked what message she has for others, Lily said, “Hunger is everywhere, and if we don’t help, who will?” We are so grateful for Lily’s compassion and dedication to helping provide #FoodforAll. Thank you, Lily, with all our hearts.