14-year-old ZaNia Stinson wins 2 more awards

ZaNia Stinson
ZaNia Stinson

July 30, 2021 12:10PM

The Second Annual Riley’s Way Call for Kindness Provides Teen Leaders with funds and support to launch or continue Initiatives that make a difference in their community. This award is given in memory of 9-year-old Riley Sandler who passed away due to a condition called Epiglottitis. The award is presented to teen-led projects that inspire kindness, strengthen communities. and bring people together.

Charlotte teen, ZaNia Stinson, age 14, was selected as one of the national Call for Kindness competition winners sponsored by the Riley’s Foundation. After spending time while growing up in the women and children’s homeless shelter, ZaNia wanted to help the homeless in Charlotte. She created Z Feeds Angel Food Project when she was just 9 years old. ZaNia makes Go-Go Bags which are gallon bags filled with food, drink, toiletries. and lots of love that she distributes to the homeless in the shelter and her family keeps extra bags in the car to give to homeless people on the street. One of the most important items are the words of encouragement because ZaNia wants everyone to always hope and believe that life will get better.

“I’ve been doing this to help others because I know how it feels to not have food and to not have anywhere to stay,” Stinson said. ZaNia has made and given away more than 800 of these Go-Go bags. It makes her heart happy when she is able to give back to people and make their day just a little bit better. Z Feeds Go-Go Bags came into being after a visit to Food Lion. ZaNia saw a homeless woman with her two children standing outside the store begging for food. She was really confused about why she was standing outside of a food store, and she didn’t have any food. ZaNia asked her mother for money and gave the woman $5 so that she could get food. Z Feeds Go-Go Bags was created shortly thereafter.

The national Riley’s Call for Kindness Competition works to empower young leaders to use kindness and empathy to create meaningful connections and drive positive change in the world. In addition to funding, ZaNia will join the Riley’s Way Kind Leadership Series, consisting of mentorship, professional development, and peer-learning. The Call for Kindness fellows are shining examples of kind leadership, and their stories inspire all of us to be better to each other.

Because of her work in the community, ZaNia was recently featured on NBC Nightly News: Kids Edition with Lester Holt on Saturday, June 6/26/21. You can watch at NBC Nightly News: Kids Edition or on YouTube.

Anyone who wishes to contact or donate to Z Feeds Go-Go Bags can email at zfeedsangelfood@yahoo.com.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is proud to announce the 2021 national awardees of the prestigious Power of Children Awards (POCA). One awardee is ZaNia Stinson, age 14 of Charlotte, NC.

The honor recognizes and rewards students in grades 6–11 who are improving the lives of others through a selfless commitment to service and the betterment of their local communities, villages and cities around the world.

There was no stopping this Charlotte teen even as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the nation to a virtual standstill. You can read her story below to understand how her empathy, passion and tireless commitment is inspiring others and improving Planet Earth.

On Friday evening, Nov. 12, 2021, she will be one of five young service leaders honored by The Children’s Museum during an inspiring in-person event. During the program, presented by the Deborah Joy Simon Charitable Trust, the awardees will each receive a $2,500 grant to invest in their social action projects. When they are ready to make a college selection, they may choose a partial university scholarship from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the University of Indianapolis or Butler University in Indianapolis.

Rarely any food to eat throughout the day, until dinner at the Salvation Army Center of Hope Shelter for Women and Children. That is how ZaNia Stinson remembers her early childhood --- often hungry and homeless. Stinson lived off and on in the shelter with her biological grandmother until she permanently moved in with her foster turned forever (adopted) family. “I will never forget how the people at the shelter took care of us and I always wanted to give back. I began making Go-Go bags filled with food, water and inspirational readings to encourage the residents there. I donate them whenever I am able to make them”, said Stinson.

Not even COVID-19 deterred Stinson from continuing her service work. To date, she has distributed more than 950 bags containing more than 9000 food items and more than 4,900 toiletry items for women and children in shelters and for homeless people who live on the streets. When COVID-19 struck, the 14-year-old found creative ways to utilize her legion of Girls Scouts, classmates, church members, family and friends to safely help her pack and deliver Go-Go bags.

Those who know Stinson say her rough beginning created strength and determination in a young girl who is now mature and wise beyond her years. Her aspiration is to grow her program to help address hunger around the world.

Since Stinson created Z Feeds Angel Food Project five years ago, she has raised $35,000 in cash and donated items. With her Power of Children Awards grant, Stinson intends to purchase more food and toiletry items and keep filling her “Angel Food” Go-Go bags with goodness and hope.

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