Casper man honored at Jefferson Awards for feeding hungry kids
A local Casper man is celebrated in Washington, D.C. for helping his community in Wyoming. He was honored at the 47th Jefferson Awards which recognizes selfless acts of community service.
“Who among us would not help a hungry child if they walked into the room right now?” Wyoming resident Donovan Short asked the room full of Jefferson Awards winners.
Donovan Short is a Local Jefferson Award winner.
“It’s incredible,” he said, about receiving the honor.
The Jefferson Awards honors dedication to community service.
Short, a longtime radio personality, is among a group of more than 150 passionate honorees who are giving their life to changing the world.
“It blows you away. It’s amazing the amount of good deeds that are represented in that ballroom,” he said
Short has spent 21 years and 15,000 community service hours making a difference in his home state.
His biggest accomplishment so far—the Wyoming Food for Thought project.
Short is on a mission to feed hungry school kids who don’t have money to eat on the weekends. Local teachers told him they were concerned about the health of their students.
The organization was originally started by Wyoming Food for Thought Project founder & director Jamie Purcell, according to Short. It did not have the official name at the time. The volunteers were just providing weekend food bags.
The Stuff the Van toy drive, which Short participates in, made a huge financial contribution to the bag program in the early years and continues to raise funds for the project.
Short said the project does even more now than just providing weekend food bags.
“We started to hear from teachers about something they were calling the Monday flu—it was basically kids coming in on Monday-they were sick and weak and unable to focus and play and learn,” Short explained.
Short is now helping to give weekend food bags to 750 local students each week.
“It was a really a surprise there really wasn’t a system in place to help. Kids were kind of falling between the cracks.”
Short challenged everyone to fight hunger in their communities during his speech.
“The Monday flu—it’s contagious, unfortunately—and it’s in your hometown,” he said passionately.
After listening to volunteers’ stories from across the nation, Short said he is ready to step it up back at home. He tells me he wants to find a way to provide more weekend food bags—thousands—with his Food for Thought project.