Past Winners
Past Winners

Meet Mary Pat Hector

a student at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, Hungry for Education ambassador, and a Fall 2017 Denny’s Hungry for Education scholarship winner. Mary Pat is a lifelong activist, fighting for the underprivileged and disadvantaged. Watch her talk about her idea to end hunger on college campuses, with the help of Denny’s. Read More >

2013 HFE Scholarship Winners

Alexia Edmunds

Taylors
SC
Wade Hampton High School

Once a week Denny’s should start holding a kids eat free all day that way children’s parents will know that they have a guaranteed meal once a week for free. Opening a buffet once a week could reduce the starvation level because people could get more food and pay less, they could also take plate’s home to go so they have something to eat at home.

Ashley Christopher

Oroville
CA
Chico State

There are several steps in the fight against childhood hunger in the United States. Step 1 would be to raise awareness. Most people are unaware of the severity of the problem of childhood hunger in this country, believing it to be something that only happens in third-world countries. Awareness could be raised by simply placed small tabletop stands in Denny's restaurants. Step 2 would be to get people involved. They could be asked to donate a dollar to help fight childhood hunger. Denny's could have a dollar match program. Step 3 is two pronged. The money raised could be used in part to provide access to nutritious foods, not only during the school year, but also during the summer time and over school breaks. The second "prong" would be education: teaching low-income parents how to cook affordable, healthy meals at home and how to make healthier food choices.

Bre’Ahjanee Sanders

Compton
CA
Prairie View A&M University

Other ways to play into profit is to think outside the box, pick areas where there is a lack of something, and provide that need. Even if it was to be something as small as an ice cream truck, kids love ice cream but a lot of neighborhoods to not have them anymore. The twist would be that instead of customers paying money to receive ice cream they would bring a non-perishable item in exchange for ice cream,

Charlotte Lawson

Bolingbrook
IL
Northern Illinois University

Childhood hunger has become an increasing issue in today’s society. To help reduce childhood hunger, the Denny’s Corporate Officers can create a hunger-drive contest. This contest will include all the Denny’s restaurants that are located in the United States. Once all the food is collected, Denny’s will then collaborate with every major food bank in each state that will then help distribute the food. The Denny’s that raises the most food items will receive recognition in a commercial that will promote the reduction of childhood hunger. Each Denny’s restaurant will be collecting non-perishable food items from customers for an exchange of a discount off of their total receipt price before taxes. Each type of food the customer brings in will be worth a specific amount of points. Below is a sample chart of how many points each type of food will be worth. Once the customer brings in the food item to a local Denny’s, an associate will count how many points all the food is worth and apply the discount amount to the total receipt price before taxes. Customers cannot donate less than five points. The points and the discount amount need to be correlated so that people will bring in more food for a higher discounted amount. Below is a chart that shows how the points will correspond with the discount that will be applied to the total price on a customer’s receipt. In order for this plan to be executed, the point system and the discount amount need to be sampled so that Denny’s will not have a major decrease in their net income.

Chress Rocha

Austin
TX
St. Edward’s University

I believe the way to eliminate any adversity in to attack the root of the issue, rather than just addressing the surface with a band aid type approach. In the case of childhood hunger, there are many root causes which must first be identified and then worked on from a number of angles. It is not just providing individuals with food, which although is an immediate solution to the issue of hunger, is not the solution for the systemic problem creating hunger. I believe there are a few issues related to childhood hunger such as lack of access to resources- adequate housing, transportation, employment opportunities, healthcare, family support systems, and funding for these aforementioned resources. There is a lack of access to nutritional options for nutrition- what types of stores are in the communities most impacted by childhood hunger? Gas stations and quick marts. The grocery stores that do reside in this area often carry a larger amount of processed foods, which provide little nutritional value and thereby perpetuate the cycle of hunger. Lastly, I believe the greatest impacting factor to childhood hunger is lack of adequate nutritional education. Our society has become one that is fast paced, where if you “snooze you lose”, therefore we no longer find the time to make a meal. Rather, we microwave it or open it up from a package and serve. The idea of making a meal is interpreted as taking up our time. Educating individuals to understand the importance of nutrition and its impact upon growing children, not only in the short, but also the long term is imperative to curb childhood hunger. Providing individuals options, guidance, and support to create viable and “easy” nutritional options for their children is needed. We must think of all the systems in place which are impairing access to adequate nutrition in our families. All of these systems- access to housing, employment, education are interconnected as in an ecosystem, impacting one another. What can Denny’s do to support this initiative- they can fund grants to create community gardens where children and parents grow their own vegetables and then learn how to cook them. Denny’s can create classes where families learn how to buy food using their food stamp assistance to purchase food that has a high nutritional value and will be enjoyed by the entire family. Denny’s could create a processed food or junk food buyback program providing incentive to individuals who turn in their processed food. Denny’s could create a line of food that is prepackaged but has not lost its nutritional value and is still affordable for consumers. I believe there is so much that Denny’s and others could do, if they just took the time to get involved and become part of the solution to eradicate childhood hunger.

Cody Quattlebaum

Jacksonville
FL
Atlantic Coast High School

Denny's can also use it's influence and power to inform Congress of the necessity of Federal Nutrition Programs. Programs that help feed students Breakfast and Lunch are vital to families that cannot afford to feed children their own Breakfast or Lunch. These key meals will not only feed children but help nourish them and encourage fantastic performance in school. Federal Nutrition Programs like SNAP cannot be cut or reduced and lead to more hungry children.

Crystal Smith

Miami Shores
FL
Howard University

What I propose for Denny’s Hungry for Education Program is to partner with the public school systems across the country and access the database of students who receive free/reduced lunch. With this information, it will easier to identify would children in the United States are living in homes with little to no income; hungry children. Since every child in the United States is required to go to school, no child will be left out of the program. With this information, Denny’s can provide hot meals to students who face the struggle of having no one to provide food to them once they go home from school, on the weekends, as well as the summer. The program can be a waiver system; similar to the waivers the College Board gives to students for tests. But instead of the waivers being used to waive fees for tests, the waivers can be used to provide a certain amount of hot meals per child. Simple steps Denny’s can take towards this program is to take a dollar off every bill over a certain amount where that dollar goes towards the funding of food and transportation to the program. For example, if a bill goes over $20 dollars, Denny’s will donate a dollar to the program. If the bill goes over $40, Denny’s will donate 2 dollars and so on. Another effective way for Denny’s to fund the program is to host special promotion days i.e. *Dollar days at Denny’s* where  selected food items preferably those in high demand for example, a cup of coffee, Denny’s will match up the dollar to give to the program.

Cynthia Avila

Chicago
IL
University of Chicago

While traveling abroad in Europe during a University of Chicago sponsored program, the most common response to the question, “What is the most stereotypical quality of Americans?,” was, “Americans are morbidly obese.” This response was never short of true, as the United States is within a list of the top five countries with the most obese people in the population. But this is not only applicable to the North American continent. In fact, as weight levels continue to rise and individuals are stretching well past the 400-pound marker, the other side of the spectrum on the population that continues to remain hungry also does not cease to decline. In fact, as the global population continues to increase, naturally does the number of those who are unable to maintain a regular, healthy diet. The spectrum of world food consumption undoubtedly continues to grow, and I believe that this is partially caused by a failure in basic health education to students between the ages of five and 16. One of my recommendations for attacking the problem of world hunger, interestingly, would be to attack the opposite side of the food consumption spectrum first, and address the problem of global obesity. I strongly believe that the widening effect caused by the growing number of people who are overweight has caused an imbalance and has resulted in more of the global population’s being overweight. In effect, I believe that by educating children to make smart food choices, to take the time to prepare and consume their food, and to understand basic nutrition (which, unfortunately, is not emphasized nearly enough in the public education system) would result in fewer hungry people because of the amount of food that would then be available. While there are many challenges to this method, I believe that by analyzing the way our food is transported, and by investing in local agriculture now, the results would ensure a more sustainable future and would allow us to combat the large-scale problem of global world hunger.

Demario Tyson

Shreveport
LA
Wiley College

To combat childhood hunger in the United States, Denny’s can initiate a program that will help educate and provide meals for these children. Denny’s program can ensure every child that is in need receives this assistance. This is done by helping students and parents receive the needed information.

Denzel Anderson

Greenwood
SC
Clemson University

Childhood hunger can be defined as an epidemic affecting many cities across the United States. Making sure a child receives good nutrition is vital in regards to the effects it will have on his health later in life. With 22% of children living in poverty, childhood hunger has become a major problem and every resource possible is needed to fight for each hungry child. Denny’s is a national recognized fast food chain that could make an effective impact on childhood hunger. With the major resources, supplies, manpower, and skills, Denny’s could easily decrease the stress of childhood hungry. With Denny’s being in a wide range of cities in America, it has access to communities others could not possibly reach. In my community alone, if Denny’s donated a fraction of their day’s earnings to childhood hunger, they could feed every hungry in our area. It does not take many funds to feed a child the correct serving of food he or she is suppose to have in a day. People are often blinded by the image that providing a meal for someone will cost, as much as a five-star restaurant but in all actuality it’s inexpensive. Denny’s also has the manpower to go out into each community and serve the hungry children. Denny’s has over 1,600 stores across the nation and over 25,000 employees. Imagine if each store took one day to serve their community and feed the children in their area. It may seem small on the community level but as a whole, the Denny’s corporation would put a dent in childhood hunger. If we as a human race discard the idea of selfishness and start to think about others, epidemics such as hunger would most likely not exist. If I were an executive at Denny’s, I would train employees to care for others more than themselves. This would not only translate to better sells at stores but also transfer to employees’ everyday lives and their outlook on helping others. Think about a corporation that is known for helping others and giving to the poor. Communities love these types of businesses and would make lines out the door if they knew they were putting their money into something positive. As a future healthcare provider, I want to serve underrepresented communities and those who are not receiving appropriate resources and daily needs. I was always taught growing up to help the poor and misfortunate no matter what and to always make an effort to make the world a better place.

Ema Murata

Honolulu
HI
Henry J. Kaiser HS

CelebrAsian 2013 got off to kind of a strange start for me. I drove to Honolulu airport early in the morning on June 3rd. Everything was going great but until I got on the plane. There was a mechanical problem so we needed to get out the plane and change into a different plane. It's took almost 3 hours and put me way behind schedule. By the time I arrived in California and got to the hotel everybody had already finished dinner and gone on to the pool. I got a bite to eat and then went to pool to introduce myself. I was a little nervous but everyone was so friendly. The next day we went to Knott's. Playing there was so much fun and it made for great way to make some new friends with the other scholars. After Knotts we went back to hotel for CelebrAsian 2013. At first it was hard to believe that I'm standing in a room with some of the top business people and scholars of the national Asian American community. I felt so humbled yet proud. It was such a good experience. I really enjoyed listening to the speeches.The next day we were presented with our citation. I remember thinking as I received mine, "This is an important step in realizing my goal of becoming an international champion in the world of hospitality." I would like to take this opportunity to thank Denny’s and USPAACC for funding my scholarship and providing me with a chance to attend this wonderful conference! It will stay in my memory for years to come!

HE Neter Kush Ben Alkebulan

Sunrise
FL
Florida Memorial University

Denny's can help fight childhood hunger by also creating fun and animated games on there website, which can become a mobile app. Children love games and they love learning. The games should be geared toward health education and nutrition.

Ilse Delgado

El Paso
TX
Irvin High School

My suggestion to Denny’s would be to come up with a specific date or dates where there could be a special menu and every meal that is bought from that menu will be donated to a family in need, or the same thing can be done with the regular menu and a percentage of the whole check will go to fight the cause. On these days I would make a section on the menu to inform customers what this cause is all about, with statistics and facts that are easy to understand so kids can read them as well and know that they’re making a difference in their country if they help. Also there can be a Denny’s charity event where if they donate a can of food on their visit they can get a free drink or a percentage off of their check. All of this can also be advertised in radio, TV or even school clubs that would be willing to join they can pass out flyers to teachers and even among their friends. This even can be done at least one a year and just because of this event we helped children all around America with at least one more meal for their day and in a way we would know that we’re making America stronger by feeding one child at a time.

Jasmine Smith

Houston
TX
Alief Early College HS

Childhood hunger is a fast growing problem in the United States; 16.7 million children under 18 live in households where they are unable to access enough food necessary for a healthy life. I believe that Denny’s can help fight childhood hunger in the United States by first giving back to the communities around them. They can do this by holding food drives for the under privileged children that may be in shelters or just children that need help in general. Denny’s has the drive and the will power to complete this defining task and they could start on a smaller scale like offering free meals to children once a week. Another way to fix this outlining problem would be for Denny’s to partner up with several childhood hunger organizations like “Feeding America”, “No Kid Hungry”, “Child Hunger Ends Here”, “Childhood Hunger Coalition”, and so many more. In doing this, they would maybe take ten to thirty percent of the proceeds of every meal purchased at every Denny’s in America and give it back to their partnering childhood foundations. Another possible plan would be for Denny’s to also partner up with a specific brand of foods. These brands include, “ConAgra Foods”, “Kellogg’s”, “General Mills”, and even “Gerber”. All of these brands cater to helping and feeding children so Denny’s would only have to collaborate with these companies and hopefully begin to change the problem to a solution. In order to alleviate America from this obstacle of childhood hunger it only takes one step and that is the first step. Who knows how far this can go if it is a success in America.

Jeanette Andrada

San Antonio
TX
University of Texas San Antonio

My name is Jeanette Andrada. I am 23 years old, and I currently attend The University of Texas at San Antonio. I am a senior at this school and anticipate graduating with a double major in spring 2014. My motivation for applying to the HACU Scholarship Program is my future. At a young age, I had to make the decision to get to a job to keep a roof over my head or to continue into college. I now see that I was wise to choose both. I have spent countless late nights studying, sold my shoes, books, DVDs, and anything I could find to make ends meet, and not to mention, sacrificed time with my family and friends. I have lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and various types of cereal, went homeless for a bit, and lived in an apartment complex where my first car was stolen. I’ve been fortunate to have a job, though it has been a challenge keeping up with school the way I would like. I don’t see my struggles as weaknesses or as a reason to seek pity from others, rather, I have been empowered by my struggles. My struggles are what motivate me to seek a better life for myself and for my (future) children. In the past years since I’ve been in college, I can say that I have bloomed into a strong, independent woman with the motivation and determination to get me where I want to be. What do I want to be? I want to be a successful businesswoman. My determination is to work at a company where I can make changes for others, where I can have an impact in the lives of others, and where I can help a company grow. In my opinion there is so much more to business than profit maximization, and this is why I chose Human Resource Management as one of my majors. If ever I seek power in a position, it is because I want to create a fair, enjoyable, and healthy work environment for those around me. I have been working since I was 16 years old and throughout the years, with the inclusion of my educational experience, I believe I have gained some useful skills for employers. First of all, I am dependable and organized. Working and going to school full-time is quite the task and without my handy planner, I’d be lost. With the years of experience, I am now pretty good at getting projects at school and work done efficiently and on time. I find that I work well under pressure, and enjoy meeting tight deadlines and accomplishing tasks within a specific time frame. In addition, I enjoy working with others, and of course, motivating and helping them as well. For example, when collaborating in projects I enjoy the planning process (determining time frames, assigning parts, and brainstorming), implementation process (accomplishing tasks within project), and the completion of the process (bringing all parts together and making necessary changes). I enjoy working and collaborating with others because I get to know and learn from different people. Also, I am proficient and have experience in the use of computers and programs important to business such as Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, and database programs. In addition, with the growing population of the Hispanic community, I’d like to include that I am also fluent in Spanish, benefiting employers in many places in the world. Furthermore, Denny’s efforts to combat childhood hunger are very inspiring to me. Unfortunately, there are many children in America that go hungry every day mainly because of their socioeconomic status. First and foremost, in order to gain support for the issue, there is a need to educate the community about it. Because of the obesity epidemic in America, it’s difficult to imagine that children are going hungry when we aren't educated and informed about the issue. My idea would be for Denny’s to start small by putting statistics and facts about the issue on the paper placemats kept on the table (sometimes crossword puzzles or current promotions are displayed on these place mats). I find that when I’ve eaten at Denny’s, I read through the paper placemats while waiting for my food and I believe it would be a great place to incorporate this information. Without providing the necessary knowledge, there aren’t many changes Denny’s can make. In conclusion, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to apply for this scholarship. As I enter the last year

Jessica Barron-Gaytan

Seaside
CA
California SU at Monterey Bay

My whole life my mom has worked so hard to provide for my sisters and me. I am currently employed and getting another job since it is the summer because I have more time to work. However, it is still not enough for my housing for next year. I don’t want my mom to stress over my financial situation on top of her financial issues. This money would really help us both out a lot. My academic goal is to graduate CSU Monterey Bay within 4 years and then go to graduate school at San Diego State. My goal is also to keep my GPA higher than a 3.0 as I have in all my years in high school. I aspire to become a businesswoman to create jobs. I know right now many people have lost their jobs. I want to be able to provide them with one. I want to be part of an organization that really cares about the people and diversity. After taking a human communication course I feel like I developed great communication skills. My speaking skills for presentations have also really improved. I have great organizational skills; you will always see me prepared in class with my agenda ready to write notes. First of all, I would like to state how happy it makes me to know that Denny’s really cares about the people. I first hand know what childhood hunger looks like. My mom started receiving Food Stamps when I was in my sophomore year of high school. Before that we would just get free lunch at school, so when we got home there was barely anything to eat. I know the feeling of going through the fridge and not seeing anything but half of an empty gallon of milk and rotten vegetables, while there is stabbing pain in my stomach. There is a gurgling feeling as if my stomach acid were turning over with nothing to work on. Therefore, I am glad that Denny’s is continuing to fight childhood hunger. I think we should start a non-profit organization that personally delivers the necessary meals to a home in poverty areas. Sometimes we do not know exactly where that food stamp money is going towards, so this way we ensure that it is going to feed the children. Our goal is to feed these children and take it a step forward with making sure these meals are healthy. I remember one of my neighbors who also received food stamps and their money would go towards junk foods like Hot Cheetos and Cap’n Crunch cereal for her kids. Or worse I remember her husband trading in some of his food stamps for cash so he could buy liquor. We need to make sure these kids are getting the right nutrition! We could have Fight Child Hunger events at Denny’s where half of the proceeds go to the non-profit organization that will hand deliver these meals to homes. Our first step in this would be educating our community about the issues of child hunger. We need to motivate them to join us in our quest to stop child hunger. There will be flyers handed out, and posts in the social media such as Facebook informing our community about this event. I’m sure both the company and the kids will benefit from these events.

Joshua Amber

Hillside
IL
Central State University

One of the many challenges that our country is facing and has been facing over the years is the mass amount of hunger that’s taking place across the United States. Many charities and companies such as Denny’s are doing their part to help end hunger in America and, more specifically, for children. In order for us to solve the problem of hunger, we must first identify the cause of it. An obvious cause of hunger is due to the amount of poverty here in America; people can’t buy much food for their families if they’re struggling just to make ends meet. Another cause of hunger can be due to location; some people might not be as fortunate as others where there can find an affordable food restaurant or market that provides fresh products close to where they live. Denny’s can help fight the problem of child hunger by sponsoring a homeless shelter to donate food for children and families. They can also allow children under the age of fifteen to eat free with a paying adult. Many children are starving because parents, guardians, etc., simply do not have enough money for food, possibly due to being laid off work or just having an inadequate salary that would allow them to feed their children. Denny’s can offer a job-training program for parents living at homeless shelters which would allow them employment at Denny’s once they complete the program. Denny’s can build more restaurants in poverty-filled areas where families need good, quality restaurants the most. Denny’s can have a healthy-budget menu; in poverty-stricken areas, there are challenges with low-quality and non-nutritious foods. By doing the above, consumers can get healthy foods at lower prices. By working together and implementing the above suggestions, we can end childhood hunger here in America.

Julia Gober

Willis
TX
Sam Houston State University

I propose that Denny’s should consider launching a nationwide media campaign addressing the food needs of our nation’s youth in order to educate the American public on the facts of this situation. If possible, Denny’s should consider partnering with other major distributors of food items specific to children, such as Gerber baby food, Kid Cuisine frozen meals, Enfamil baby formula, Borden’s dairy, etc. “Milk…it does a body good,” and other similar phrases are great tools to lead into a fun, educational campaign that will create community interest and concern. Perhaps a celebrity from a family-oriented television program would agree to sign on as a spokesperson. To build deeper support from the local community, I suggest Denny’s offer the American public a means to join them in their efforts to help end child hunger. This is a great opportunity for Denny’s to pledge to support a local food organization by offering to donate a set amount in exchange for every kid’s meal or glass of orange juice ordered from their menu by a certain date. Cards can be placed on each table announcing the offer, and special kid placemats could be printed for the promotion period that include games aimed at finding ways to help end child hunger in America. Wouldn’t it be great to provide a way to get our children involved in helping others, too?

Kelly Egan

Downers Grove
IL
Downers Grove North HS

When someone finishes their meal and pays the check, you could take a certain percentage out of the check that can then be donated to a number of organizations like, Feed the Children or Feeding America. You could do this same thing except instead, go to a food pantry and ask a child (or multiple) to create an idea or recipe of a breakfast, that Denny’s could then run as a monthly special (similarly to how Denny’s did The Hobbit, Bacon, and Fourth of July style recipes). Anytime someone orders one of the special meals that a child came up with than a percentage of the meal or check goes to that local food pantry or a bigger organization like Feed the Children. If Denny’s wanted to be involved more locally with the community they could also run fundraisers; they could have a child “fun day” to raise money. An example of this would be, set up a day where families can bring their children to do fun activities, like a bouncy house, face painting, games, etc. and all the proceeds go to a local food pantry or major organization for starving children. Another way to help is after every day and week there’s food that goes untouched and won’t be used, but is still good. Instead of throwing it in the garbage, it could be donated to the local food pantry to help feed starving kids or donated to a family in need. Lastly, you could donate all or a percentage of the breakfast shift sales to support a local family or child as well.

Kimberly Anderson

Alhambra
CA
California SU at Northridge

I believe that Denny's "Kids-Eat-Free" program has already taken huge steps towards fighting childhood hunger. By expanding the days and hours of these programs, Denny's can feed even more children nationwide, especially during morning business hours or just before school. This would ensure that all American children have access to the most important meal of the day- breakfast. Additionally, I believe that coupons, store credit, or gift cards should be offered to low-income families through Denny's website. A simple application process can allow Americans to share their story and ask for the help that they need in a shame-free, confidential environment.  Also, a way to feed American children in both an educational and fun way, would be to host Saturday Cooking Class with children. Here, Denny's can donate their materials, space, and time so that kids can learn to cook for themselves in a safe-environment. Afterwards, they can enjoy the meal they have prepared and share it with others.

Kirsten Wiatrek

Saint Hedwig
TX
East Central High School

Denny’s is committed to help trying to alleviate childhood hunger across the nation. One way that Denny’s can come up with the funds to make a large enough contribution to actually make an impact is to designate at least one month out of the year to promote this cause. During this allotted month, customers would have the option to allot ten percent of their tab to the funds that would be used to fight the hunger. It would be the responsibility of the waiters/waitresses to inform their customers when presenting them with their bill that they have this option. It wouldn’t cost the costumers a penny more; it would be their discretion whether or not they want part of their money to go towards this organization. The great thing about this process is while it does not only help raise funds, it also promotes awareness, and not only can it be advertised, but customers are more likely to get involved when they are approached verbally by an employee instead of reading it off a sign. This way, it is guaranteed that they are aware that contributing is even an option. Also, it would encourage them to eat out more at Denny’s. The biggest appeal to customers is that it doesn’t cost them a dime out of their pocket which in this economy, they will love. The only one cut short financially is Denny’s, who would lose ten percent out of all total revenue but since this is a cause close to the heart of Denny’s, I’m sure Denny’s would find it well worth it.

Lauren Cave

Alta Loma
CA
University of California Riverside

Something as simple as “Grades for Great Eats” where children who eat at participating Denny’s restaurants can submit their good grades to help Denny’s fight against childhood hunger in the U.S. and get a free meal in the process. For every good grade, Denny’s could donate to any number of organizations such as Feeding America or the World Food Program. Not only would Denny’s be getting involved with a worthy cause, but they would inspire youth to get involved as well with their outstanding grades.

Laverne Newton

Denmark
SC
Voorkes College

Another option would be to have a food drive and reach out to the public, Denny’s can offer to match the public donations dollar for dollar and donate all the proceeds

Lekui Xiao

Hoffman Estates
IL
University of Illinois at Chicago

Simply raising sufficient funds or subsidizing additional federal programs cannot end childhood hunger. The root to ending hunger is not merely donating enough food to soup kitchens or food pantries, but also distributing this food to children. My creative solution for how Denny’s can alleviate childhood hunger involves providing meals to children at locations where they are most commonly found throughout the year: public areas. Foremost, children love going to fast food restaurants because the dining experience is entirely different from the stereotypically bland food they are served in school cafeterias or at home. Children who struggle with hunger on a daily basis are even more elated to dine out. Thus, Denny’s can bring its delicious meals to school cafeterias. It’s common for restaurants to purchase more ingredients than they can serve to customers. Instead of trashing these leftovers, the items can be donated nightly to local school cafeterias and then served for breakfast or lunch the next day for children enrolled in federal assistance programs. During the summer, children are out of school. Instead of concentrating on schools, Denny’s can combat childhood hunger by servicing different public places frequented by children such as parks, libraries, and park district facilities. Denny’s can set up booths or carts at locations statistically determined to be visited by low-income families who cannot provide enough food for their children. At these booths, meals can be provided to children for free. Yet, solely increasing access to nutritious food can’t simply solve childhood hunger. Both guardians and children themselves must understand why and how to purchase three nutritious meals each day without going bankrupt. In order to encourage children to eat not only enough but also healthily, Denny’s can incorporate nutrition lessons or seminars into school curricula, local festivals, and other community gatherings.

Long Chen

Spartanburg
SC
Spartanburg High School

As I've said before "providing food to the individual who needs them". The first step to this is to hire some people to go check in every neighborhood around each Denny's in America. By doing this we're able to see what kind of living condition are the families living in and to see if any of them needs support. Second step is to provide those families who needed the support with a "Denny's food stamp card". This will allow the children and families to come into Denny's and enjoy a free meal. Third step is to start a fundraiser, in school's and other business place because providing free foods can cause Denny's a lot of money. So get the school's and other business places involve in this, in order to save up money. Of course there should be a specific meal plan for the holders of "Denny's food stamp card". Knowing that our goal is to fight against childhood hunger, so what do we do with the parents of the child? well that's why we need a specific meal plan for them. A meal that doesn't cost a lot and are easy to prepare plus high in calories and carbohydrates. Such as Denny's meat lover omelet with hash brown (1020 calories) instead of using quality meat, we can substitute with regular ground beef, or Denny's fish & chip with fries (1330 calories) and instead of using quality fish, we can substitute with maybe cheap fried catfish. I recommend food's high in calories because most people who suffers from hunger usually walks majority of the time and can really burn the calories off fast. My meal plan is to feed every member of the family because it's not right for the adult to bring their kid's in to eat and they can't. Also each family can only receive two meals a day. I recommend for Denny's to start a buffet to end childhood hunger. A small buffet bar placed in a certain section in the Denny's restaurant, for the holder of "Denny's food stamp card" only.

Mark Hairston

Washington
DC
Old Dominion University

Childhood hunger in the United States is a big epidemic that needs to be resolved fast. In the United States alone, 15.9 million children lived in food insecure households in 2012 and 22% of U.S. children under the age of 18 live in poverty. Numbers like these really make me upset. To assist in solving the childhood starvation problems in the United States, many organizations are trying their best to tackle the problem. The W.I.C. program, National School Lunch Program, and Feeding America assist children in finding food. Now, Denny’s Hungry for Education Campaign can join these groups by using some helpful advice which I will offer to help assist them in solving childhood hunger. With all the customers that Denny’s Restaurants service each day, I think Denny’s should donate one dollar to childhood hunger for each customer that is served daily. Donating a dollar for every customer will surely make a difference because Denny’s is a well-known family establishment. Secondly, Denny’s should partner up with other organizations and foundations so they can also assist Denny’s in donating money to children in need. Third, I strongly believe that Denny’s should partner up with colleges and universities all over the United States. When they partner up with the colleges and universities, Denny’s should create a scholarship program that gives $15,000 to a student organization so they can give back to their community to assist the community in fighting childhood hunger. Lastly, I firmly believe that Denny’s should create a select, nutritious dinner menu where children that are 18 and under get a free, nutritious meal daily. These are just a few ideas in which Denny’s can stop childhood hunger.

Miranda Camp

Tavernier
FL
Stetson University

In order to tackle the issue of childhood hunger, one must go where the hungry children are. Denny’s could make an outstanding impact on childhood hunger by partnering with elementary schools nationwide. Providing a nutritious breakfast for students before their day starts and a healthy after-school snack would give students two meals that they may not normally get each day.

Monique Delilye

Columbia
SC
Allen University

creating an organization that will go out to all areas of the earth an help feed them.

Nathan Rodriguez

Dallas
TX
University of North Texas Denton

Denny’s can make a difference for the cause of stopping childhood hunger in private manners, but it can also accomplish this while helping other local organizations that support the cause too.  Such events are community wide like a “Pancake Run” which allow for Denny’s to spark positive publicity and support for future events. It also allows for other organizations in the community to get involved and inform the public about the issue.

Nazara Henry-Bruce

Pompano Beach
FL
Florida A&M University

Denny’s can help fight childhood hunger in the United States by taking a simple step in convincing young children that reading is vital. . If we can get our American children to become more optimistic, ambitious, and inspired through reading then we will see a direct link to more innovative money making ideas. Thus, the poverty rate will lessen and as a result so will the hunger rate. Denny’s can go to war with childhood hunger by simply encouraging children to read more.

Quentin Smith-Burley

Dallas
TX
Paul Quinn College

Denny’s can help fight the hunger of children in America by taking some effective approaches towards fund raising for the children. Donations can be made at Denny’s by the customers and supporters of the fight against childhood hunger in order to make care packages to feed children across the United States.

Sahony Baldera

Miami
FL
Florida International University

Food shortage is a global problem and tragedy in the world. There are countless people who suffer from incessant hunger. Children die from hunger every day. It is unacceptable that the number of hungry people is so high. Hunger is a continuous, serious structural problem, which could not be solved in one day. Different world organizations, scientists, economists, politicians care about undernourished people and try to find ways for reducing their number. It is not cheap, or easy, to rid the world of any type of hunger. Some smaller companies may deem it impossible or perhaps too expensive to help out a child with hunger, but a popular all-time classic diner like Denny’s, where people of all ages are constantly dining, can do something to help. Perhaps a campaign where a certain percent of revenue of items sold that day will go to foundations that take care of feeding kids who are not fed well or simply cannot afford food. It may not seem like a huge impact on a small scale; but when it is looked at collectively and all the proceeds from all participating Denny’s worldwide are summed up, millions will be collected. The exact cost per child is not a set one. It depends on the country, culture, and economy of the location. It is also not something that is implemented overnight. It will take some time to acquire the required approvals and copyright signatures. Another way Denny's can cooperate to help end child hunger is through advertisement. Since Denny's restaurant is very big and there is a constant influx of people, it is an ideal place to advertise goods and services. From my understanding, advertising is one of the most expensive ways to make something go viral or be sold. If companies or people are willing to pay Denny's to have their items advertised inside the restaurant, then perhaps adding a page or two to the menu and placing those advertisements or making ad-based handouts will get the job done. Money made from advertisement can be used to help feed kids. World hunger can sometimes be alleviated through lowering poverty. In some cases, it would be a smart idea to open up low-cost Denny's and employ people who have kids, thus providing some income to those families in order for them to feed them. There is no definite way to eliminate hunger from the world. Everything in life has to be balanced: instead of hiring an employee who earns $10 over the minimum wage, two other employees should be hired to earn $5 even if it is below minimum wage. If there is someone feasting off lobster and caviar, there are always others scraping by with a piece of bread. Any little help is always welcome, and it is in the best interest of big companies like Denny's to help out. It would motivate people to attend the diner more often if they know some money is going toward a good cause.

Stacia Andre

Washington
DC
Howard University

...Denny’s can do is provide free meals to children who do not have a consistent meals provided for them. To extend their services beyond the typical restaurant, Denny’s can expand and partner with low poverty schools and after school programs and provide meals to children that way.

Sydney Berry

Greenville
SC
Coastal Carolina University

How Denny's can help fight childhood hunger in the United States? In my opinion, our local community has overlooked the growing number of children living in poverty and who suffers from hunger. Although there are many organizations working diligently to tackle the problem, those efforts are just not enough. The rate of children living in poverty is even higher than adults in poverty. Data from Online Furman University article “Poverty in Greenville” place 21% of Greenville County’s children as living below the poverty line. This astounding statistic lends to the same children suffering from hunger. Denny’s is currently advocating for this cause by teaming with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry® campaign, a national movement aimed at ending childhood hunger by connecting kids with healthy food where they live, learn and play for the third straight year. This is a wonderful program and other major corporations should consider the same. But, there is more to be done! In addition to the in-store fundraising drive, Denny's is also partnering with America's Egg Farmers to further its efforts in providing breakfast to hungry children. For every "Build Your Own Omelet" that was purchased from Sept. 9 through Sept. 15, America's Egg Farmers donated one egg on behalf of Denny's guests to a No Kid Hungry partner. Again, what else can be done? Denny’s would be the perfect entity to start a 5 year program with other major corporations to aggressively attack this issue through a WWW (World Wide Web) Social Media Program. What better way to reach executives, community outreach organizations, and students as well than through social media? Not to take away from other organizations that are working on this very issue; but Denny’s being a food provider and for much of its history, offering a free meal to anyone on his or her birthday; why not continue this motto of providing for our kids. Also provide a way to get food that is thrown out daily to organizations that can possibly use it. This problem is definitely solvable. Denny’s could solicit partnerships with other food vendors/corporations to go in to the schools and educate the educators and parents. Get the students to work with the project through the social media piece. These Tech savvy kids can help with the WWW Social Media website, surveys, donations, whatever it takes to get the issue of child hunger to the forefront. Getting to the children who are directly affected to help with the Campaign would be a powerful testament to the cause of bringing people and organizations together. I would encourage Denny’s top executives to assemble together in a grassroots effort to look more closely at specific causes of children living in poverty and suffering from hunger to solve this issue with a team approach. Reviewing causes and linking them to solutions requires a personal outreach, and education about the situation needs to be heard often!

Veronica Nevarez

El Paso
TX
The University of Texas at El Paso

My personal motivation for applying to the HACU scholarship program is financial, academic, as well as philanthropic. As a full-time graduate student my capacity for earning wages is diminished, and as a single parent of two elementary school children, this poses a great financial need for our family. As an MBA candidate, I am applying for this scholarship in the aim of reaching my academic goals by avenues such as this one, that recognize the importance of education and generously facilitating this for students in any way possible. Further, my motivation is philanthropic in that I have the commitment to give back to others whenever I can, and one of my greatest goals is to contribute financially and otherwise to organizations aimed at fighting hunger and helping those in need. My career goals are to apply my experience and knowledge in a creative endeavor for an organization whose values mirror my own, all while building on my own success. Upon completing my Master’s degree, I plan to apply for a managerial marketing position either in fashion or entertainment, hopefully as either a Marketing Director or ultimately, as a Corporate Marketing Officer (CMO). I believe I bring a variety of valuable skills to the table from a diverse background in psychology, sales, accounting, and finance. I bring strong interpersonal skills, as well, beginning from my work as a caring professional facing the challenges of working with seriously disenfranchised individuals living with HIV/AIDS, or in foster homes. I also have hard technical skills from my past work experience as an accountant and financial analyst, and overall, the discipline and dedication learned from having trained in classical ballet all my life. It is my belief that Denny's can continue its efforts to helping fight childhood hunger by bringing awareness to the public about what exactly the hunger statistics are and how just one individual can make a difference. Perhaps Denny's could feature a story about how it made a difference via its own ad campaigns, or by helping people make a difference at its restaurants using a variety of incentives. In sum, it is apparent that Denny's has done well to further its cause and can continue those efforts with simply letting consumers and the general public know how much this restaurant chain really does care.

Victorea Smith

Greenville
SC
J.L. Mann High School

Childhood hunger is an existing conflict in the US and other countries. This hurts my heart tremendously which is why I try my best to help out in the community as much as possible and give what I can to those in need. Denny’s can help fight childhood hunger in the US by raising money, donating food or starting up a Denny’s soup kitchen. By raising money and giving it to soup kitchens around the world, the childhood hunger rate should definitely lower. If people are asked to donate money, then they can get special discounts on food items or they can get 10-20% taken off of their food bill. This way the children in need of food will be blessed with food and the person donating will be satisfied as well. Donating food is another way that Denny’s can help fight childhood hunger because this way the children will be given the food directly whether it’s at a soup kitchen or if employees go around to low income neighborhoods or if they donate the food to soup kitchens. I feel like this would be beneficial to the children and this would change millions of lives around the world if everyone gave a hand with this.Starting a Denny’s soup kitchen is a wonderful idea because this would open up more soup kitchens around the world, and also the children would be exposed to a better variety of foods than served in some soup kitchens. People in the community could be asked to volunteer in the soup kitchens and if possible they can receive some type of special reward for helping out with this in the community to stop childhood hunger in the US. All of these would be wonderful ways for Denny’s to help fight childhood hunger. This is an issue that we need to focus on and I feel like with these ideas the rates for childhood hunger can be lowered. Denny’s can start with the smallest steps and work up to bigger steps to help fight childhood hunger in the US.

2014 HFE Scholarship Winners

2014 HFE Scholarship Winners

Ajia Bell

Durham
NC
Hillside High School

There are many ways of how Denny can help fight childhood hunger in the United States. I am going to base this solution on what I did my junior year. Last year my sisters and I came up with this idea to help feed the students of our high school. In the morning a lot of kids were complaining about how they didn’t have time to make breakfast because they were rushing to school. Also our lunch started at 12:30 pm so it took a long time for lunch to come around. At my school we had 15 minute break in the morning which people hung out in. My sisters and I thought it would be best to sell the food to the students during the break and the proceeds would go to an organization called Food for the Hungry. We raised over $870 for the organization. It was very successful because not only were we able to help those in our community, but we could help people who needed the money for the organization. The organization Food for the Hungry is an organization that supplies food for children all over that can not afford food. What is great about the organization is that they supply the food that is healthy to children of the United States who can’t afford it. Donating to this organization would help fight childhood hunger in the United States. With our product we were in competition with the vending machine because people really liked the snacks in the vending machine, but because our proceeds were going to a good cause, people bought our product instead. So in my opinion Denny’s should do the same thing. I think they should advertise the fact that Denny’s supports Food for the Hungry then they can get more customers to buy that food. For what ever time period Denny’s advertises the organization a percentage of the funds goes to the organization.

Alexandria Brown

Randallstown
MD
Florida A&M University

“Hunger prevents kids from reaching their full potential. It’s an epidemic that’s threatening America’s future.” Share Our Strength, the company that conducts the No Kid Hungry Campaign in aiding the end to childhood hunger, mentions this along with the fact that 1 out of 5 equaling 16 million kids in America struggle with hunger. It has been proven that children who don’t receive enough to eat do not perform as well in school, get sick more often or have a hard time matriculating through school. This triggers a horrible cycle and can result in negative impacts on economic futures as they become adults. Attending Florida A&M University, we are located on the side of Tallahassee considered as the ‘South Side.’ Demographically, within this community there are many who are low income, not including college students. Just as other communities around the world, there are children and other individuals here who may not get a hot meal when they go home. Policies have been placed in school systems where children who are not able to afford school lunches still should receive breakfast, lunch and now some schools send snacks home with kids. In addition, there are programs where children can receive meals in the summer time as well. Furthermore, as far as adults there are shelters placed throughout Tallahassee that provide hot meals. So, what’s the problem you ask? One main issue I feel is effective communication. Programs are not being utilized simply because individuals are not aware that they are happening. That’s where Denny’s and my HBCU’s Community come into place! I feel that Denny’s can start an internship or volunteering program which will feature ‘College Student Canvassers.” Their job would be to strategically map out different need based neighborhoods, walk door-to-door informing individuals of free meal programs and shelters in their communities that they and their kids can go to. Denny’s could also partner with Share Our Strength and the surrounding school districts to implement and legitimize this program. Student Canvassers would also have literature that they would distribute while going door-to-door. To see how the program is affecting others, Denny’s can have a massive block party event midway through the program where they cater the food and set up a system to collect donations that can go towards the ending of childhood hunger. This program would not completely end hunger in my HBCU’s community, but it would create progression and would also impact tons of individuals.

Alexis Lorenz

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

Alexis Rooks

Savannah
GA
Clark Atlanta University

We all know hunger is a large global issue; however I feel that when we Americans think of hunger, we only see images of developing countries such as India or Ethiopia. We are rarely reminded of those in our very own country suffering from hunger until we are sitting in our comfortable air conditioned car looking at a homeless man standing on a corner off the exit of I-20W in the scorching midday summer heat of Atlanta, Ga, holding a cardboard sign bearing the plea, “It’s not about begging it’s about survival, GOD BLESS.” I have never been so intimately aware of the issue of hunger in America until I came to college. People around my school and throughout the city of Atlanta are poor, homeless, and most of all hungry! That is why I am pleased by this opportunity presented by the Tom Joyner Foundation and Denny’s to solve this issue. The issue of hunger in my school’s community cannot be solved by simply handing out food every now and then. The community needs a large, professional, and reliable source of assistance. There are four schools located in the Atlanta University Center (AUC) which consist of Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Morris Brown College. There is a vacant building owned by Clark Atlanta University. If Denny’s and the AUC were to partner up in the combined effort to give back to our community, a kitchen could be opened for the sole purpose of feeding those who are less fortunate in the area. The kitchen can provide service to those who have no home by providing prepared meals. It can also provide some food to take home for those who simply have nothing to cook, because even though there are food stamps many people still go home to empty pantries. AUC bookstores, Denny’s, and neighborhood businesses could give customers the option to add a small donation to their purchases for this great cause. AUC schools could possibly even add a small optional (or non-optional) $25 community service fee to student’s accounts to assist with the project. Students and alumni will be more than happy to donate, because like me they have witnessed the hunger in our community and want to help. Once enough money is raised for any necessary renovations to the building, it can be up and running. Leftover food can be donated to the kitchen from the schools’ cafeterias, local businesses, and can food drives frequently held at the schools. There will never be a shortage of volunteers to operate the kitchen thanks to the hundreds of students in the AUC looking for opportunities to meet their community service requirements. With a kitchen in the area offering free food to the hungry, there will be a lot less hunger in our community.

Andrew Sanchez

San Bernardino
CA
California State University, San Bernardino

To help fight childhood hunger, it is relevant that Denny’s take part in a variety of ventures through various communities. One option is to form a national community of volunteers. With participating restaurants involved over a period of time, each subarea in each community can hold various events that help raise funds to fight this cause with the sponsorship of Denny’s. This is important and valuable for community members to give back to their community and support a reputable cause. Being an individual with community service experience, it is crucial for others to be involved. Whether individuals contribute two hours or 200 hours a month, it is important to support one another.

Brenicke Johnson

Loris
SC
USC Upstate

My idea of how Denny’s can help feed the hungry children in the United States would be to start an athletic league with kids aging from five to seventeen. There would be a boys and girls team of kids ranging from five to eight, another two teams from nine to thirteen and the last group of kids from fourteen to seventeen. Each age section will have a girls and boys team. These teams will be sponsored by Denny’s with t-shirts to wear during competition and Denny’s will also be responsible for feeding them during the time of their competition. On the other hand, the kids will help raise money and the games will cost two dollars to get in or visitors can leave a donation of any amount. These games would take place during the summer time, to help keep the kids out of trouble, from sitting around not getting any exercise all summer and to also make sure they get some kind of a meal during the summer. I chose the summer time because that’s when the kids will be out of school and are less likely to get those two free meals a day like the school would usually provide, and over the summer a lot of kids don’t exercise like they should making it harder to want to do exercise the following school year. To make this event available for all kids all over the United States, I would want to make it available in the center point of every state to start off with then maybe change locations from year to year to make sure everyone gets a chance to participate in other parts of the state. If the kids are dealing with hunger problems, you can almost bet their parents are also dealing with financial problems, and those kids would be less likely to attend this annual event which wouldn’t be fair when we’re trying to reach out to them. I think this would be a great idea from everyone. The kids would be getting exercise, getting a meal on the regular over the summer when they need it the most, the parents would basically have a daycare/summer program for their kids while their at work. College and high school students that received this scholarship could volunteer in their state, or Greek sororities and fraternities could volunteer being that both of those groups of students would need volunteer hours.Denny’s would benefit from this annual event in multiple ways. Denny’s could one, get a chance to be a mentor or be a role model to lots of kids. Before the summer if over, someone representing Denny’s could give a motivational speech to the kids. Those kids ranging from sixteen and seventeen could possibly start applying to Denny’s and get a job, and then those kids could go back and volunteer in the future summer events. All the donations and money raised from the games, Denny’s can keep. So in the end, a lot of people would be happy: kids, parents, college/high school volunteers and the entire Denny’s team for being able to give back to the community.

Briana Powell

Los Angeles
CA
View Park Preparatory Accelerated High School

Over 35 million people in the U.S. are hungry or do not know where their next meal is coming from, and 13 million of them are children. If you want to eliminate hunger, everybody has to be involved. When we work to end childhood hunger, we are giving our love to kids who need it so much they will never ask for it. One of the greatest feelings in the world knows that we as individuals can make a difference. Ending hunger in America is a goal that is literally within our grasp. To think that one child would go to bed hungry somewhere in this country is heartbreaking; to know how many do is virtually incomprehensible. This is not only a problem that exists in the far reaches of the globe. It happens right here in our own backyard. Together, as concerned citizens, we must do more to make sure every child's needs are met. We can never end hunger through the wonderful work of local charities. Like other Western democracies, we must end our national problem of hunger through national and political leadership. Charity is nice for some things, but not as a way to feed a nation. Denny's can help fight childhood hunger in the United States by joining forces with National Childhood Hunger Advocacy Organizations to ensure all children get the healthy food they need, every day and to have the satisfying feeling that a child has been helped.

Bryson Lee

Wellford
SC
USC Columbia

The lack of having enough food to eat is a major issue in the United States. It affects many people but primarily the children of our country. All children should be able to have good balanced meals everyday and shouldn’t have to hunger for weeks on end. There should be ways for this childhood hunger epidemic to be put to a stop and come to an end. Denny’s is a corporation that can help end this childhood hunger in the United States. Denny’s can do this by creating a program that donates food to children(those too young for school) who aren’t able to have a sufficient amount of meals everyday and create a program that helps supplies meals to kids during the summer time when school is not in session. The first program would donate food to those children from the ages of Newborn until five years of age. This would be during the months when school is in session. This age range is mostly affected because they are not of age to attend school, therefore they do not have the chance to eat a school meal. This program could go to different areas around the country where childhood hunger is the highest among this age range. Denny’s would have to find some sort of way to obtain this information from the different areas around the country. Once the information is obtained the program could set up places in those areas where those children can be brought to get those free meals. The second program would provide meals for all children during the summertime when meals aren’t provided during in school hours. There are many studies that show that children suffer more from hunger during the months that they are not in school. This is primarily because most schools provide students with breakfast and lunch. A majority of the time students can get these meals for free or at a reduced price if they meet a certain criteria (i.e. family income). The second program can decrease the number of hungry children during the summer. It could be set up like the first program mentioned and set up places for children to eat in areas where the childhood hunger problem is the worst. The program could also be set up in a summer camp style where the children can do certain activities throughout the day while being provided with breakfast and lunch. The program would have to come up with some activities for these kids to do. One suggestion would be for local recreational venues around the area to allow the children to come and participate in the venue’s activities (whatever they may be) for free. Take for example if the YMCA was near then it could allow the children to come and swim in the pool for free. Both of these programs would greatly help the problem of childhood hunger in the United States. Denny’s could probably even use these programs as a tax cut. It would be great if both of these programs were implemented because the problem of hunger among children could begin to diminish.

Claudia Marquez

Boyle Heights
CA
California State University, Fullerton

“…By establishing a relationship with the community, Denny’s can host a series of educational workshops about nutrition, gardening methods as a way of sustainability and growing their own food, and informational workshops on existing food and nutrition assistance programs in the community. Nutrition workshops can ensure that families are aware of healthy foods and are informed on how to prepare a healthy meal. Gardening is also a critical subject that communities should be informed about because it will teach them how to grow their own food in their backyards. This knowledge will contribute to the well-being of families who struggle financially because they will have access to healthy food at a low cost. In addition, it is essential that the community is informed about existing organizations and programs that provide assistance to families that lack the basic resources needed to survive. By hosting these workshops, Denny’s can promote their menu and services. For example, the nutrition workshops can recommend healthy meals served at Denny’s.”

Diamond Giles

Bowling Green
VA
Norfolk State University

If I was given the opportunity to make an impact on hunger in Norfolk State University’s community, I would initiate a food pantry, named the Spartan Food Pantry. It would also include a garden to provide fresh fruits and vegetables. Both would be placed on our campus which would allow easy access to students, faculty, commuters, and to the community because we are considered an open campus. Anyone would be able to donate items to the food pantry because it would be set up like an ongoing food drive. It would also host a weekly dinner where we could use items from the pantry and garden to create a healthy and delicious meal for those in need. Overall, the pantry and garden would be readily available to the community while also promoting a healthy lifestyle. The food pantry would also incorporate various student organizations on our campus to promote community service. There would be different areas to volunteer in such as sorting food items, assembling food packages for those in need, and helping to prepare the weekly dinner. Lastly, it would encourage teamwork among students, faculty, and staff to display that a group of individuals can make a huge impact on their community. The fresh garden would be a great addition to the food pantry because it would allow those in need to choose a healthier alternative than just canned and processed foods. There would be a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from like tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, strawberries, etc. It would also have various herbs like basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, different mints, and oregano. The goal of this garden would be to help make healthier food choices available and ultimately promote healthier lifestyles like that of First Lady Michelle and her “Let’s Move” initiative. In closing, I believe the introduction of a food pantry and garden would help to impact the Norfolk State University community’s challenge with hunger. Often times, people take for granted the simplest things in life like eating three or more meals a day. I feel that if I could provide a service to help those that are hungry in my community, I would feel a sense of accomplishment and comfort knowing that they would not have to worry where their next meal is coming from.

Elizabeth Martinez Mendoza

McMinnville
OR
Linfield College

When most people in United States think of child hunger they think of third world countries, and very few realize that child hunger is a problem our own country is facing. It is unbelievable how many children go hungry in the United States, a country quite plentiful in resources. For many children school is often the only place where they receive a meal. Unfortunately for the children who find themselves in this situation that meal is only available 9 months out of the year, during the time school is in session. There are a few local elementary schools in my community that I’ve seen announce, on their bulletin boards, free lunches to children during the summer. Unfortunately not all schools provide these types of services to their community of children, whether that be due to a lack of resources or lack of knowledge regarding the prevalence of child hunger is difficult to say, but with that being said there are two main things Denny’s can do to help reduce child hunger. The first being educating and informing the public of the problem, because if people don’t know that child hunger is an issue within their community they don’t know something needs to be done. People can’t be expected to solve a problem they don’t know exists. One of the best places to get the word out about the issue would be schools. I would suggest that Denny’s partner up with various school districts across the country to inform them about the struggle so many children are facing. Ideally then the school districts would pass on the information, getting it down to individual schools. The next step would be to put in place a plan to solve the problem by providing some sort of service for these children in need. For instance, a service could be to hold year round soup kitchen meals for kids at their schools. The next step Denny’s could take to help would be to assist in providing some of the resources needed to purchase food, or provide the food itself for theses soup kitchen meals. The soup kitchens could be run by parent and teacher volunteers. These volunteers could be recruited at parent teacher meetings and through school newsletters. Schools would be the most ideal place to hold these soup kitchens for children because they are institutions that provide a safe and familiar environment for kids. Schools are also the best way to inform the children about the resources that could be made available to them. It is especially the best way to inform those kids in families where parents are often absent and lack the direction to find help. The biggest way to confront the issue really comes down to informing as much people as possible about the problem, and creating relationships between Denny’s and school districts, school districts and their individual institutions, teachers and parents, and teachers and students. The more people there are working together the better community issues, like child hunger, can be addressed and resolved.

Eric Moe

Moore
SC
Dorman High School

Child hunger is a staggering reality in our nation. There are various organizations that are partnered with major corporations to lend their assistance to combat this problem. As I pondered this topic, I visited the website www.nokidhungry.org.  I noticed that Denny’s corporation is one of its partner organizations. It was fascinating to read the many different ways that you can volunteer to raise awareness, educate and commit your time to volunteer.  Yet, having the knowledge and the information is one thing but engaging others to want to feel it as their mission is another. At Hunger Ground Zero, 1 out of every 5 kids will come from homes that struggle to put food on the table.  From an initial point of view, the general idea should be geared towards offering a “hand up” and not a “handout.”  With that approach, Denny’s, along with other major corporations, can use their brand name recognition to do even more.  Let’s get some human resources involved in the campaign by energizing and inspiring our future talented leaders in our communities, such as those in our middle schools and high schools.  Denny’s, along with other major corporations, could help launch co-op programs which are funded through corporate support as well as donations.  The objective is to work alongside area middle school and high schools to plant seeds for purposeful programs within their community to support the fight against child hunger.   Participation in these groups would offer students the ability to gain service learning hours, possible academic elective credit, as well as increase their chances of earning more scholarship opportunities funded by these partner organizations.     Sometimes, the process just needs to be decentralized in order to teach and empower others to do what needs to be done.  It’s not just a corporate responsibility; it’s every citizen’s responsibility to do their part.

Estefania Perez

Mokena
IL
Joliet Junior College

There are several ways in which Denny’s can contribute to the fight against childhood hunger in the United States. One major way Denny’s can help is by sponsoring an event to raise money in of support organizations dedicated to fighting against childhood hunger. Denny’s along with the collaboration of childhood hunger organizations like Kids Against Hunger and many others can establish an annual event dedicated to fundraise money and contribute to the cause. As the host of a fundraising event, Denny’s can pledge to join the fight against childhood hunger by donating a certain percentage of their profits during that fundraising day to a childhood hunger organization. Local organizations, high schools, and churches can all volunteer to organize the community event. Members of the community would dine at the Denny’s host restaurant. Low income families with children can be invited to dine free of charge or at a low cost. Several activities can be available to children who attend the event. Some activities the event could create for the children can include animal balloons, magic tricks, face painting, and other games. The organizations involved can help advertise the event to the community and help recruit volunteers for the event. To bring additional community members to attend the event, several raffles and auctions can be available. This will ensure that non-low income community members also have fun during the event. Several items can be donated from churches, schools, libraries to create gift baskets and used as prizes during the raffles and auctions. All profits from those raffles and auctions can go towards the charities against childhood hunger. Denny’s can set a goal of money that needs to be raised, and every year it can strive to raise more than the previous year. Denny’s can also play an important role in public awareness to better support the fight against childhood hunger. During the event, some organizations can present to the audience, and educate people about childhood hunger and how the community can better support the cause. Low income families can also be informed about the many public resources available to them to prevent their children from suffering of hunger. Low income parents can also be informed on how to better provide their children with the proper nutrition. The attendees can also spread awareness on how they can advocate for low income families to not cut federal nutrition programs that are supporting hungry children. Raising awareness about childhood hunger will be instrumental in trying to get more community involvement. Collaborating with organizations and community members will not only help fight against childhood hunger but also allow greater community involvement that will give everyone a sense of ownership as a result of their efforts. An event like this will not only give Denny’s the opportunity to give back to the community but also gain new perspective customers. Hosting a charitable event like this will also help Denny’s gain recognition and support from several communities. Denny’s can be the first business to lead the fight against childhood hunger and create a legacy for generations to come.

Guadalupe Martinez Jr.

Phoenix
AZ
Phoenix College

“In order for Denny’s to continue the fight against childhood hunger it must do several things that include decreasing liability, increasing revenue and examining childhood hunger. Denny’s has already taken the first step in reducing its liability by buying back $24.7 million worth of stock and paying off $17.1 million of outstanding debt; possibly increasing 2014 Free Cash Flow by at least $1.3 million that could be used for reinvestment. The next thing that needs to be done is to reduce the volatility of the variable cost by integrating flex fuel technology into appropriate levels of the supply chain. This would decrease Denny’s reliance on fossil fuel, enabling the use of electric, hydrogen and ethanol from the vegetable oil waste from its and possibly other restaurants as well through a subsidiary company. While that is being planned and implemented, Denny’s can acquire vendors such as farms, ranches, equipment suppliers and transportation companies. With the acquisition of the farms and ranches, Denny’s increase its revenue by offering grass fed beef/pork and free range chicken products that could be incorporated into Ilse Delgado special menu where the products are available. Other steps that can be taken are installing solar panels or miniature wind turbines at the company restaurants to offset electrical cost and the surplus energy can be sold on the grid or used to generate hydrogen fuel for the supply chain. Another measure that use be done would to simply replace the standard doors with revolving ones that could also be used to generate electricity that already being done in New York buildings with high foot traffic. Franchised owned restaurants can enticed to participate by offering an incentive such as a reprieve or reduction in their franchise license to offset the cost of installing the equipment. Now we come to examining childhood hunger. A child being hungry either means the parent(s) or guardian is unemployed or underemployed. With the potential savings and earnings, Denny’s can set a budget to create a department to work with the Economic Research Service of the United State Department of Agriculture to examine current government and non-profit organizations to see what works and target areas with chronic poverty. Once the resources and the conditions of the areas have been identified, programs can be created or expanded for food assistance. Work for Food programs can also be set up to develop the skills of parents or create new businesses in the local community to reduce the need for such programs. With these steps in places metrics need to be created to measure the progress and success of these programs”

Jessica Walker

Jacksonville
FL
University of Central Florida

“Denny’s would create a “Breakfast Builder” card available for free to its customers. Registration would be required but it would only contain basic contact information and the ability to create a “Breakfast Builder” profile online through Denny’s website. This card would use a bar code able to be scanned when paying for their meal. Every item on the menu would be worth a set number of points which is listed accordingly. The points customers have accumulated would be available for viewing by logging into their Denny’s Breakfast Builder profile online. The basic idea is that the more points you earn, the more breakfast you are able to contribute towards someone fighting hunger across the globe. This can be maintained at both a very rudimentary level as well as a highly interactive one. In its most simple form, the points will be set to automatically feed someone suffering in need with the default breakfast designed by Denny’s based on nutrition and accessibility. However, by going online, customers can create their own breakfast and decide upon which items they want to spend their Breakfast Builder points.”

Jesus Serafin

El Paso
TX
El Dorado High School

All across America, millions are without food, shelter, running water, or any other necessity needed for survival. The fact that stood out to me the most was the food insecurity. 49 million Americans were living in insecure food households and of those 49 million, 33.1 million were adults, and 15.9 million were children. Another statistic to keep in mind is 1 in every 6 Americans face hunger. Food shelters and food drives may be helpful, but it is not enough to support all the ones in need of food to support their households. Some parents cannot support the family on their own, so they will ask their older kids if they have them to work and help raise the family income even if it is just a part-time job for the teenager, every dime counts. When the kids are involved in contributing, this could also affect their education and their work ethic in the classroom due to the lack of sleep or the countless amount of hours they put in just so that they can that night. What I propose Denny’s can do is have a promotion where for maybe a month or two, 10-20 percent of what Denny’s makes in those couple months, they can donate that 10-20 percent to those food organizations such as the Feeding America Organization who help feed those in need and help contribute to buy more food. Denny’s can also have a different promotion that is similar to IHOP where they have free pancakes day. Not only would this help those that are hungry, but this would also boost up the restaurants reputation and bring in more customers.

Kiana Upshaw

Gary
IN
Southern University and A&M College

As an upcoming senior at Southern University and A&M College as well as the newly elected Association for Women Students President, I have an obligation to help out my school and my community. In order to make an impact, one must first have the right guidance, wisdom, and patience when dealing with people. Our people are not only physically hungry but they are mentally hungry too. As a student leader, making an impact can happen by having study sessions, community out reaches, and student discounts all sponsored by Denny's. All students whether in high school or college have a need to study. Eating food will help students intake knowledge rather it's new or reviewed. Having Denny's sponsor study nights will create a more likable chance of more students wanting to study than to be alone. Having a community outreach sponsored by Denny's and hosted by the students will create a positive outlook on the community. The community supporting students by coming to the outreach can have a boost of endurance for them to want to continue to learn as well as unifying the community. Being a college student financially is hard. Denny's student discounts can bring in more student customers. Also, students will be able to come, have fun, and save money and use it on more educational uses. Having Denny's sponsor student discounts, community outreaches, and study nights will make an impact on All HBCU communities. We, students, are hungry for an education and are open to all avenues as well as Denny's "America's diner is always open" to assist.

Latirrani Harris

Spartanburg
SC
Spartanburg High School

Denny's should reward positive actions committed by the hungry children of the U.S.  Denny's, with the help of the community could offer coupons to the hungry children of the United States; for each A or B on their report card, as well as for any achievements they may have.  Thus encouraging the kids to do better in school, and get involved.  The coupons should be of a free meal and dessert.  This way Denny’s will know that they’re at least fed one meal.  It takes a lot of money to perform actions such as giving food away, but kids that put forth an effort to do something with themselves should be rewarded. In doing this, not every kid will benefit but the ones who are really hungry will put forth an effort to get food.

Lawrence Green

Sacramento
CA
San Jose State University

Although the United States is considered a wealthy country, it only takes a minute to see that this country possesses a substantial issue of childhood hunger. Often times the face of hunger is intertwined with poverty and is observed on television depicting malnutrition children in third world countries and places outside of the United States. Regrettably, a true reality is that an actual face of hunger is prevalent in some of our homes, neighborhoods, and communities throughout the United States. I applaud the steps implemented by Denny’s to tackle childhood hunger by offering free Kid’s meals which include nutritious choices such as Jr. Dippable Veggies and Apple Dunkers. However, during a recent dining experience at Denny’s, I observed patrons wasting an abundance of food. Wasting food is an indication of the unawareness of childhood hunger and a lack of knowledge of healthy food choices. Both instances create an opportunity for Denny’s to make valuable changes. Children spend a large part of their day at school and most schools provide breakfast and lunch. Also, for a number of children, this may be their only meal(s) for the day. First option, Denny’s could partner with elementary and middle schools food programs in promoting healthy food preparation and food selection. An example of this partnership would be a food exhibit during a school’s open house which would acquaint parents with various breakfast and lunch options and food preparation. The food exhibit with allow parents and their children to sample various foods and provide information on food groups, well-balanced meals, and inspire healthy eating habits. Educating parents, children, and school cafeteria staff can help create a positive response toward a healthy lifestyle. A second option would include schools at all levels. During my high school years, throughout the school year, our school hosted various lunchtime and evening events and invited food eateries to set up booths to promote their entrees. Denny’s could participate with local surrounding schools to offer various nutritious food options and be an advocate for healthy eating. Students have a tendency to support these various booths because it allows them to break away from the ordinary school meal options. This setting would be successful especially for school events that occur in the early evening because parents are just getting off work and generally do not have time to prepare dinner for the family and would be convenient. Currently the media, including First Lady Michelle Obama’s promotion of fresh food choices, are embracing healthier eating in America. Embracing health choices while partnering with schools can be a major step for Denny’s to help reduce childhood hunger. Today childhood hunger has been overshadowed by childhood obesity, however the concepts are similar. Childhood obesity is large consumptions of the wrong types of food. Childhood hunger is not the result of the lack of consumption of a significant quantity of food, but the lack of the consumption of quality foods. By setting a positive example with school-age children, in turn, they will have a positive influence on their parents.

Lenin Ortiz

Bronx
NY
Colorado State University

“My father planted the seed of leadership and community ownership in my soul as a child and it took until adulthood for it to grow strong. In that same way I want to help the Hispanic Community realize that we are not just day-laborers or small business owners. We have the potential to be leaders and economic powerhouses. To accomplish this, I want to both obtain leadership success in my professional life, as a part of a meaningful and socially based organization. I want to use the leadership skills I learn in school, and practice in the military, and rise to the top of such an organization. Once I taste success, I want to become a professor so that I can teach others to do the same.”

Melanna Wheat

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

Mercedes Maduro

Lauderhill
FL
Miami Dade College

As the number of people in the world grows each year there is the constant issue of how to feed everyone. This issue is not limited to available food but also access to food which involves the ability to purchase the food that is made available. Hunger not only plagues lands near to and far from our shores but also homes within our borders. There are many ways to aid in the fight against hunger, many of which involves funding. The funding can go towards programs geared towards low income neighborhoods and families. These programs can involve incentives that provide a group of about 10 families with young children with $200-$500 worth of groceries for a six to twelve month period. Denny’s can also collaborate with local nonprofit organizations that focus on the youth and provide meals for events these organizations put together. Funding can also go towards raising awareness that even in a country that suffers from affluenza; there are still children that have to skip meals due to the fact that there is not food available. Awareness can be publicized via commercials, newspaper ads, flyers, billboards etc. each intended to reach multiple groups of people. There is the possibility that there are capable people within the community that have the power to make contributions whether it is though manpower or funding as well. By funding programs such as these there may be a spark that causes a chain reaction that promote self-sustainability with the community. Although funding is considered to be one of the large components in the battle against childhood hunger, it is always a great idea to get personally involved. If Denny’s restaurants as a company or franchise get involved with the communities that they inhabit there would most likely be a positive impact. Community outreach events such as “Denny’s for the Kids” can be an annual event that takes place on “the day of the child.” This annual event will have employees of Denny’s out in the community preparing and handing out food and conducting projects geared towards children such as face painting and petting zoos etc. In addition to this event there could be days where children in middle school and younger can eat for free during certain hours. Another possibility is to organize a fund raiser that will get bigger companies involved in the initiative to fight hunger. The fundraising can be incorporated in the annual day of the child event possibly in the form of a dinner or gala. Due to the fact that the cause would benefit children within our borders people may be more inclined to help. Childhood hunger is a big problem which has many roads and bridges that lead to us as a society eventually overcoming it. It will not take one event, one idea or one person. It takes several determined well placed groups of individuals (whether big or small) to lay down the bricks of innovation, inspiration, and perseverance that create the pyramid of change. Students will need to provide a 300-word essay (high school) or 500-word essay (college) on how Denny’s can impact childhood hunger in the United States. Student must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA (high school and college). Grades and academic performance will serve as indicators of potential; however, an emphasis may be placed on the individuals essay submission. Scholarship funds awarded to winners must be used for education such as tuition and related fees. Students will need to provide a 300-word essay (high school) or 500-word essay (college) on how Denny’s can impact childhood hunger in the United States. Student must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA (high school and college). Grades and academic performance will serve as indicators of potential; however, an emphasis may be placed on the individuals essay submission. Scholarship funds awarded to winners must be used for education such as tuition and related fees.

Micah Earley

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

Micayla Ross

Chandler
AZ
University of South Carolina

There are many ways that Denny’s can help fight childhood hunger in the United States. An excellent way to fight childhood hunger would be to partner with elementary and middle schools in order to help put programs in place that would help feed children in need. One way that Denny’s could help would be to donate money to the schools to help fund the schools food programs so that they can expand their efforts to help feed more children. With the donations the schools could help feed children not only through the week, but also evenings and on the weekends. Feeding children on evenings and weekends would be important because some children only receive the breakfast and lunch through the week that is provided by the school. If the school could provide a take home meal or a few meals for the weekends the children could have a meal when otherwise there would be no food. Also during the summer many children go hungry during the two or three months without school. Along with the schools, Denny’s could also partner with churches to help provide a place for children to go and receive a hot meal. By working with schools and churches, children will have more than one place to go giving them a better chance at receiving a meal. But, in order to provide more meals the schools and churches need funding, and Denny’s could help with that. Another way that Denny’s could help fight childhood hunger would be sponsoring meals at children’s shelters. Many times children in need do not receive breakfast, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Denny’s could donate breakfast food to the children’s shelters to help feed children throughout the community. Denny’s could even send out volunteers to help serve breakfast and interact with the children. Denny’s could also work with local communities to help build local gardens and orchards to help grow fruits and vegetables that would help feed the local children. By helping the local communities build their own means of growing fruits and vegetables, the costs of providing food that would have to be bought or shipped would be cut down therefore more children could be fed for a lower cost. Also growing food instead of providing processed food will help promote a healthier lifestyle along with cutting costs. The fruits and vegetables grown in the gardens and orchards could go straight from the garden to local children in need, or they could help support the food supply in the schools and churches. Also building a community garden or orchard could help foster community involvement, and promote awareness so that others can know more about childhood hunger and can help prevent it. Denny’s could also help promote awareness by scheduling programs and rally’s at the schools and throughout the community to help inform more people about the growing issue of childhood hunger. Informing more people is the key to fighting childhood hunger, and Denny’s can help lead that fight and encourage other organizations to get involved.

Misael Marquez

Long Beach
CA
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School

As a multi-million dollar corporation, Denny’s can help feed children in the United States in numerous ways. First, Denny’s can offer specials on certain days of the week where they give a portion of their profits to kids suffering from hunger. People will be given a sense of moral accomplishment for going to eat at Denny’s knowing that they helped fund a movement to end childhood hunger. Second, Denny’s should host soup kitchens to help children and their families sustain themselves. Soup kitchens can be held on the weekends when children are not able to receive food from school in order to help accommodate their lack of nutrition. If there still seems to be families starving, then the soup kitchen can begin to open on additional days throughout the week in order to lower the rate of starving kids. Third, funding an organization to reach out to children in need of food can substantially benefit the country. Aiding the organization with the money and food needed to accomplish the goal of ending childhood hunger will be much easier to do so because many people volunteer their service if they see that there is potential in making a difference with a corporation like Denny’s backing them up. As the manpower needed to deliver the food can be left to the organization, Denny’s can remain as the sole supplier and backbone of the movement. Lastly, starting an awareness campaign to inform fellow Americans about the issues the country is faced with can help prevent childhood hunger rates from increasing. This new insight will cause a greater humanitarian movement toward a greater good of aiding kids in need. With these tactics set in motion, child hunger rates can drop dramatically and Denny’s can be the cause of that positive shift in this country.

Nazareth Villalpando

Tinley Park
IL
Loyola University, Chicago

Unlike Jonathan Swift, I do not have a ‘Modest Proposal’ for solving childhood hunger. Stating that this social issue has simple solutions is satiric in nature; however, childhood hunger cannot be ignored! Childhood hunger is a reality for 31 million children who received free or reduced-price meals in the United States (Department of Agriculture). If children from families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for the National School Lunch Program, there is a high probability they also live in a food insecure home. It has been proven that food insecurity and childhood hunger have adverse affects. Children who live in food insecure homes "are more likely to be undernourished, have poorer cognitive functioning, have lower math scores and repeat a grade" (Creighton, 2011). Consequently, I propose to expand the Hungry For Education™ program: the program must include an academic challenge that rewards good grades with a free breakfast, in addition to subsidizing classroom breakfast programs in school districts near an operator's restaurant demographics. Denny's can fight childhood hunger by expanding the Hungry For Education™ Program to include an academic achievement challenge for K-8 grade students. The Denny's Challenge will motivate students to successfully complete an academic term because they will be rewarded with a free breakfast. Assuming that most elementary and middle school students do not dine-out alone; this proposal will also benefit local operators because parents will buy additional meals. The Pizza Hut Book It! Program promotes education in a similar fashion. For example, my elementary school participated in this program every month. Even though I would redeem a monthly voucher for a personal pan pizza, mother would buy an additional pizza for dinner. Overall, Denny's Challenge enhances the mission of the Hungry For Education™ Program because it celebrates academic excellence and fights childhood hunger. For many children, the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program supply much of the food they eat; however, there are only 9.8 million children who participate in this program (Creighton, 2011). There is substantial evidence that serving breakfast in the classroom increase participation and has stronger health and educational benefits than other models. This method also reduces the stigma free breakfast or lunch programs have. Denny’s can fight against childhood hunger by subsidizing local classroom breakfast programs. This can be achieved by organizing a donation drive, in each restaurant, that permits customers to round their bill to the nearest dollar. Parents and community members are more likely to donate if they feel their donation will make a difference. Denny's does not have to establish elaborate plans to fight childhood hunger in the United States. Research indicates that "the engagement of multiple stakeholders in the planning and implementation process” leads to more successful and sustainable projects (Creighton, 2011). Denny's can alleviate childhood hunger by incorporating programs that include the participation of children, parents, educators and community members into its corporate social responsibility plan.

Neeya Toleman

Denton
TX
Coram Deo Academy

As a part in the food industry, Denny's impact childhood hunger in the United States could be tremendous. My proposal to help childhood hunger would involve a national program but employ local agencies and organizations in small, individualized, specific areas to serve the people on an intimate, local level. Project “Treat a Meal” is simple for both the donor and supplier with no “buckets of change” or pesky “would you like to donate” lines. When ordering, the customer would say, “I’d like to donate a bowl of chili to ‘Treat a Meal’” and a bowl of chili would subsequently be added to their total. The money used to purchase the bowl of chili would still buy the chili but it would be set aside for the local food pantry. Monthly, the local Denny’s will tally what items have been “treated” and bring the allotted proportions to a local food pantry or other ministry near the restaurant’s location. Because the restaurants would be partnering with local organizations, it would build a sense of community as donors would be familiar with the organization receiving their acts of goodwill and restaurants would have easy access and service to the local community instead of starting from scratch to build a program. It would also make each program unique in that no two cities will have the same food shelter and yet the people are being directly addressed and fed. The program could also adopt stamps like the “I voted” sticker and branded as “I treated” to create a positive social trend. In a modern age where everything gets Facebooked and Instagrammed, having a recognizable symbol and slogan would be key to the success and popularity of the program. I believe the “Treat a Meal” program could be met with great success.

Nona Henderson

Greenville
SC
Southside High School

Child hunger has been an issue for many years, many people have come up with ideas to aid in this horrific predicament. When planning to handle an issue as general and wide spread as child hunger we first have to brainstorm on where and when. We then have to decide where the food will come from. Finally, when discussing child hunger you have to make sure to plan for the future and not just the children now this issue alone is where most problems occur. Most child hunger is due to a tragic situation or inconsistency of a parent. To prevent long term child hunger it is extremely important to connect parents and adults with programs designed to help provide food long term for the child. Food companies and manufactures, should invest not only with money but with time and programs set up to aid in the fight to stop child hunger. Programs similar to “Toy for Tots” can be set in place where parents or guardians are given the opportunity to gain not only a way to temporarily provide food but also to assist them in gaining the skills necessary to provide long term. Although there are a number of programs offered by the government to provide assistance these programs are extremely difficult to obtain and require tons of paperwork and information. In most cases even after going through the process many people don’t qualify for the benefits due to a lack of funding for the programs. In closing I would like to add in a quote I am very fond of “ I would rather be taught to plant than given food” moral being if you are taught to plant you will be able to provide food for yourself long term, instead of being full for that moment.

Oston Jembe Madengue

North Hollywood
CA
Oakwood Secondary School

Being a starved and nutrition deprived student is detrimental to your own education. Living without the means to be provided a lunch and a nutritious snack is something that shouldn’t be an option for students under the age of 18 pursuing a higher education in the United States. According to “No Kid Hungry”, 22% of U.S. children under the age of 18 live in poverty, struggling every day with hunger. If United States schools could identify and remove barriers that preventing students from accessing nutrition and higher educational opportunities students could be in better position to learn and succeed. Schools in the United States have been notoriously known for their non-nutritious meals and unhealthy lunch and snack options, but I believe Denny’s could be the solution to this problem. Denny’s is known for their delicious breakfast and lunch items. If Denny’s were to send each school a healthy, nutritious snack and lunch option from the Denny’s Restaurant menu with two to three beverage options United States students would no longer have to go without food at school. Many of the meals and snacks on the Denny’s kid’s meal are already kid friendly. Denny’s could take over school cafeterias with new and cool menu options including special toys and gift items in every lunch served making lunchtime fun and exciting for kids attending public schools. Having experienced the United States Public School system hot lunch program and snack program I know first hand how we are in dire need of a reformation with in the school system. Denny’s is spear heading this barrier within the school system that is hindering young students in the United States Public School System from receiving a higher education. I believe that with the enthusiasm of Denny’s and students everywhere we can remove the barriers preventing students from accessing nutritious and healthy food options at United States Schools. Oston Jemba Madengue ojmadengue@gmail.com

Phillip Thompson

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

Reginald Moore

Los Angeles
CA
West Los Angeles College

To apply for a scholarship one must list the clubs and organizations they participate in. Next, would be one’s self goal: career, education, or financial. After, one must mention the quality and effort that is invested in their academic work. Then, one should express their upbringing in mildly detail. Also, one should list their hobbies and activities that occur during their spare time.I am a Los Angeles Police Cadet, a Los Angeles Fire Cadet, and in the Associated Student Organization at West Los Angeles College. I am a part of the Black Student Union, Puente Club, Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Martial Arts Club, TRiO Student Support Services, Education Opportunities Programs and Services, and University of California Los Angeles Center for Community Colleges Partnership. I work part-time for Contemporary Services Corporations as a Security Staff. I want to attend college to further my education and help pursue my career goal. I want to become a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. I want a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a master’s in Business Management. I will be the first in my family to go to college. I was raised by a single mother in a low-income inner city area. I would like for my kids to live in a neighborhood than I had.In high school, I was a part of Children’s Youth and Family Collaborative tutoring program. On Saturdays, I attended Santa Monica College’s Trio Upward Bound program. In the beginning, my grades were average and anytime I got a D in a class I would make it up in summer school or adult school; eventually, my grades were reflecting my hard work. I got High Honors Roll in the 11th and 12th grade. In my senior year, I was concurrently enrolled in high school and community college and taking college courses which increased my high school grade point average.My mother was a single parent who raised a son without the aid of her husband which was for her. We received funds from government assistance programs. We lived in a one-room apartment in a low-income gang infested area. My mother did not have a job and I work part-time; our source of income was my financial aid and other charitable family members. Growing up without a father was not a difficult challenge for me because my mother gave me full support.I like taking on new experiences and challenges. I am well-rounded, appreciate diversity, and support my community. I love taking up hobbies and volunteering my spare time. I also like socializing with new people and learning from their stories.

Ryan Taylor

Owasso
OK
Langston University

I attend Langston University, in Langston Oklahoma. Langston is situated in the heart of Oklahoma with a population of less than 2,000 people. Langston is a historically black university and the community of Langston is made up of over 90% African American residents. Hunger is a real issue, even within societies that are perceived as middle class or thriving. There are thousands of families that go hungry each night. Most notable in this issue, are children. Some children are unable to obtain a sufficient level of nutritional means at home. At times, the only source of a balanced meal for these children is at school. While the Denny’s nearest to the Langston community is over 30 miles away, there are useful things that both the Denny’s corporation and I can do to have an impact on hunger within this community. The Denny’s corporation can combat hunger in this community by creating a cooperative agreement with both the City of Langston and Langston University, to ensure that all children attending public schools, as well as college students, receive a balance meal. Denny’s could create a memorandum of agreement with the Langston Oklahoma School Board. This agreement could cover the cost of both breakfast and lunch for any child not on free and reduced lunch, and who cannot obtain meals while at school. The agreement could go even further by sending those children in need home with a snack pack that would include all elements of a balanced meal. This could satisfy that child’s nutritional needs at home and provide a mitigative measure should an issue arise which prevented adequate access to nutrition for that child while away from school. Both Denny’s and I could also have an impact on hunger, right here on the Langston University college campus. Many don’t realize that there are full time college students, living on campus, who do not have adequate access to nutritional resources. This access hindrance may be either in the form of monetary resources or simply logistical access. Langston University is situated in a very rural area. All access to food typically ends after the main café closes -- around six in the evening. Students then have to rely on the convenience store or travel 20-30 miles to the nearest fast food restaurant. The problem with this is that everyone does not have the money to purchase items at off campus and/or at fast food restaurants. There have been nights where I feel like I am starving and there is no way for me to get access to food. As it stands, if a student has an evening class, they will miss dinner in the main dining area. With our current system, if this student only has a campus meal plan, they will not have access to the nutritional resources they need. I could assist Denny’s, in conjunction with the University, implement the establishment of facilities that offer meaningful nutrition at late night hours -- on campus -- similar to the type of late night dinning available on cruise ships. The strategies presented above would be useful in combating hunger in both the Langston community and throughout the University campus, for students unable to access alternative sources of nutrition. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you on this very important issue. I hope that my strategies are one day implemented. I look forward to hearing from the scholarship committee soon.

Sean Persaud

Spartanburg
SC
USC Columbia

Childhood hunger is a rampant problem in the United States today. Thousands of children left to starve due to lac of financial support. There are many ways to combat this epidemic. A larger corporate food chain with unlimited resources is perfect candidate to resolve this problem. That is indeed why Denny’s have stepped up to the plate. With each large chain food corporation, there are attributes that are associated with them that can cause a major positive impact on a situation. What Denny’s can do as one of these corporations are several things. To raise money and awareness of the severity of childhood hunger in the U.S. Denny’s will have two days out of the year in which they give a free lunch platter to each customer in each customer giving a donation to a fund to end childhood hunger. On these two specified days, special pamphlets with interesting facts regarding childhood hunger will be placed at each table for customers to read while they wait for their meals. With this gateway to be more aware of childhood hunger, this may in turn empower the people who red these pamphlets to donate money or even go beyond to make a even bigger difference on their own. Another way Denny’s can aid in the fight against childhood hunger is that with every purchase of an item at Denny’s, waiters or attendants can ask if the customer would like to donate one dollar to the fund against childhood hunger in return for a small book of coupons for items at participating Dennys. With this small donation being asked of every customer, a considerable amount of customers will agree to this and in turn aid in raising more money. Raising money for this fund does not necessarily need to be done only inside the restaurant. It can be expanded much further. What Denny’s can preform is a fair during the summer to help raise money for childhood hunger. All the proceeds would go to the fund to ensure maximum revenue. Also, as a spirit booster for the current children suffering from this horrible situation, they Denny’s will provide a service to bring these children to the fair to eat and have a chance to feel like a child again and not have to worry about when their next meal will e if there even will be one. With the previous examples demonstrated, there are many ways in which Denny’s can aid in dissipating the situation of childhood hunger. With the help of the customers at Denny’s and hard effort from the Denny’s corporation, it is potentially feasible to end childhood hunger in the U.S. with this combined effort. With this, Denny’s will change the world just as their services to customers have done already.

Sergio Butler

Chicago
IL
Central State University

There are many ways I/we (Denny’s and Central State University) can have a positive impact against hunger in a HBCU community. In my case I am a student at Central State University, Wilberforce Ohio. Even though I have not really experienced hunger problems I am aware that it does exist. One of the ideas I came up with to help eliminate hunger would be to start a not-for-profit food bank/drive. With the help and support of some other student and peers willing to volunteer we could set-up a garden or food bank. This would allow us to produce free food for the hungry. We could serve home-grown food every morning to about 50-100 students. On the campus of Central State University we have a greenhouse that could serve as an excellent location/venue to grow food. The student volunteers will be encouraged to support the fight against hunger by helping to plant and grow fruits and vegetables. Once the food has been grown and properly harvest it will be delivered to the University’s cafeteria by the student volunteers. Afterwards the food will be cooked and served at a low to no cost to the students. There will be no cost for the student volunteers and low cost for others. The program will offers through sweat-equity an opportunity for students who may be in need of food and or regularly scheduled meals to eat and be properly nourished. In exchange, through the “CSU & Denny’s –end of hungry program” volunteers will be able to eat healthy and learn how to take better care of themselves. It is my thinking that this program can be used to raise money through donations to help eliminate hunger on most participating HBCU campus. I believe this program proposal can work and help out a lot of hunger students.

Stephanie Montanez

Brooklyn
NY
New York Institute of Technology

Childhood hunger is a growing program that can be easily and simply reduced, possibly be eliminated all together. Denny's can implement a wide range of possible options to help fight childhood hunger. One of the simple things Denny's could do to fight childhood hunger would be to go around to local low income schools and pass out free meal vouchers to the students. This would motivate the kids to bring their families in and experience the hospitality that Denny's has to offer while getting a free meal for the night. A second and just at easy option would be to partner with a local food bank. One night a month Denny's could offer discounted meals for a donation of non-perishable food items to the local food banks. A third and final option that Denny's could do to fight childhood hunger would be to have a fundraiser night and match all donations to fight childhood hunger from the customers on certain nights. These options are quick and easy and can hugely impact the lives of millions of hungry children.

Stephanie White

Buffalo
NY
Johnson C. Smith University

Denny’s can have an impact on hunger in my HBCU’s community by funding fundraisers to raise money to feed local citizens in surrounding areas around Johnson C. Smith’s campus. They can also fund a food bank on campus or in the community that will have weekly or monthly giveaways to families in need. The giveaways can provide families with all their basic needs including non-perishable and perishable food items. Basic necessities such as toothpaste and other hygiene supplies can also be included. The fundraisers and giveaways are only a start to fight hunger in the surrounding community. It will take time and dedication to get a handle on the situation. Denny’s can help by teaming up with local students and alumni to go out into the community to feed the people in need. Around holidays as a school with the help of Denny’s we can have holiday dinners because there are a large number of people who are alone on holidays. Statistics show that 1 out of every 5 children suffer from childhood hunger. With the help of Denny’s programs that make sure every child is receiving the proper nutrition throughout the year will help lower the number. Other solutions to the problems could be teaching kids how to eat healthy on a budget and stretching that budget. Cooking programs can be provided. Denny’s can spread the word of the effects of childhood hunger so that people can actually start taking action to end it.

Tarryn DeLyons

Columbia
SC
Claflin University

What I can do to help impact Orangeburg to help with hunger is to organize a variety of food at a food bank. There are about five food banks located in Orangeburg and this can be the foundation to what I’m trying to plan. Claflin dining facilities can circulate food services to one of these food banks and package the food and send it along with the transportation we have. Since there is an abundance of food being made from the observations I made there’s a lot of food left over. Moreover, there are probably a variety of food supplies that they do not use until further notice. Whenever the food trucks come to re-stock the kitchen there can be some of the stock that could be saved on the side to give to a food bank. In addition, donations could be great to contribute to food banks or shelters, I could go around and ask the students to donate a quarter, for example to the Harvest hope food bank that’s located in Orangeburg and round it up at the end of week. First off I’d have to go ask the freshman college officials to suggest it to the authorities over Claflin so it can come into effect. Consequently, once that’s settled it could impact parts of the student body and we could distribute donation boxes for some food banks. The transportation Claflin has can take some of the food supplies over to the food bank and we could all stock it. This will help the community greatly and profoundly. Additionally, a food drive is also helpful and manageable. Claflin University has many gracious and nice people from my previous interactions and I pull them all together and start a food drive every two weeks. Furthermore, what inspired me to this idea is this one YouTube video. This video consisted of this gentleman named Vitaly, who made over one thousand sandwiches with some helpers, loaded the truck and drove to a local area where homeless people stayed. Moreover, it had impacted that community in some way where it’s still hope in humanity. On the other hand, Saturdays at my school Claflin workers drive us to Wal-Mart so we could shop and gives us at least four trips picking students up after dropping a load off. In addition, we could ask the workers of Wal-Mart if they could start a food drive and we could help contribute all the cans each trip the van takes us. Also whenever there is a big game, the admission fee could be five cans for each individual and to get food or drinks it could be three cans. Leaving this off, food drive marches and donations in local and popular areas could be helpful but the most important thing is the effort put into food drives, food banks, and small donations to make it known to the community. In conclusion, setting a goal like ($1,500) at the end of a month would be good for donations.

Timothy Baba

Austin
TX
Huston-Tillotson University

When I was ten, I first realized what it meant to experience extreme hunger! My father had just lost his job and my mother was yet to receive her salary. There was typically nothing left in the house to eat. I always left for school without breakfast, and returned home very hungry with yet nothing to eat. I drank mainly water and ate bread the whole day. When it came to the nights, I could neither sleep nor do any of the assignments given to me at school. My family’s hunger was later salvaged when my father got a new job. This encounter was just for a short period of time, however, to some people in my HBCU community, hunger has continuously been a daily challenge. It has been an affliction both to the young and the old. It is therefore imperative that we all make impacts to fight forcefully against the stings of hunger in our society. In trying to curb hunger in my HBCU community, there are several issues that must be considered one of which includes the high unemployment rate amongst residents in my community. This is actually a major cause for the prevailing high level of poverty. Most people don’t have jobs and roam about the streets without doing anything. It is a fact that unemployment is a major contributing factor to food insecurity and hunger. Therefore, to remedy this problem and consequently have an impact on hunger, Denny’s can liaise with job providers and companies to employ members of my society who are eligible and qualified to work. A lot of donations have been channeled to feed the hungry, but that alone is not going to help the situation. People now don’t really need to be given fishes continuously, they must be taught to fish as well. This I believe will go a long way to salvage my community’s hunger because then, everyone will at least have just enough to feed his or her family. If we must address the problem of hunger in the community level we must first of all begin from the family which forms the basic unit upon which the society is built on. Each family can begin a subsistence farming in their houses by cultivating gardens where food crops and fruits can be grown. My history professor once told me that while she was in New Jersey with her parents, they had this garden in their house where they cultivated little crops, and though they were not rich, they always had something to eat. Denny’s can organize campaigns to educate my HBCU community on the benefits behind the idea of growing home gardens. They can also partner with agricultural firms to assist members of my community with necessary facilities for starting a subsistence farm. Finally, it is a primary responsibility of everyone to fight hunger. Denny’s can help create awareness to the public of this great task. It is only when people realize the need to take personal efforts toward curbing hunger in the community that the nation as a whole can be salvaged from the afflictions of hunger.

Trenton Saunders

San Diego
CA
University of California, Los Angeles

When people think of the world’s most powerful country, the picture of childhood starvation never crosses to one’s mind. This issue has been shunned for decades by politicians and the media, and is only now becoming known to the general public. The crisis we have at hand hits us to the core, depriving the children of our country fuel to their growing bodies. How can we rationally expect our children to solve the problems of tomorrow, if they face the day to day challenge of finding a meal? With the help of a nationwide franchise like Denny’s, we can not only nourish the bodies of our children, but also fuel their minds. In an efficient and effective manner, Denny’s can hit childhood hunger where it is most prevalent, socio economic deprived inner city neighborhoods. We have a chance to eradicate this major problem if Denny’s starts a nationwide campaign with elementary schools and public recreation centers in neighborhoods where children are most at risk to miss a meal. These outlets would allow Denny’s to hold fun interactive workshops to explain to kids and their parents the importance of a well-balanced diet and daily exercise. Half the struggle of fighting childhood starvation is educating the public about foods that are the most economically efficient for the body. Many Americans on tight budget shop to get the most food for the least amount of money. Often times this leads to purchases of junk foods that lack nutritional value and aren’t filling. By showing children and their parent’s healthier alternatives that are tasty and filling, we can hopefully steer a shift in consumption toward foods like legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts that facilitate a healthier lifestyle. To really create hype among the children, it would be ideal to partner up with well-known athletes and celebrities that children see as role models and portray those choosing healthier alternatives to typical snacks. Building off this initial surge, would be a new program put on by Denny’s, called the “Jr Grand Slam Book Club”. It has been proven in numerous studies that the most crucial years for a child’s brain development is in the first twelve years. This program would be geared toward students in kindergarten through 6th grade, and would give these students a voucher for a free Jr. Grand Slam after reading 10 books. The “Jr Grand Slam Book Club” would hopefully provide children enough incentive to steer kids away from unproductive outlets such as television and video games, and instead show them the intellectual adventure of books. The public image of Denny’s is known nationally to be a diner that serves quality food in a family centered environment. Denny’s has the opportunity at the moment to elicit this image even further, by helping eradicate childhood hunger in the United States. If Denny’s takes the proper steps and acts whole heartedly, I can’t see a reason why we won’t be able to eliminate childhood starvation across America.

Uriel Rose

Montgomery
AL
Alabama State University

Hunger has been a problem that has been around from the creation of time. It is a problem that we know how to fix however, this is easer said that done. We live in a time period where there are persons that live and eat in abundance while it is sad to note that there are indeed persons who have no idea where their next meal is coming from. We have heard it over and over again about the policies that will be implemented to stop hunger. This then leaves the question that is asked, why is it then that this problem still persists? This therefore means that these policies aren’t working. I therefore suggest that if these reasons are bared in mind that the problem of hunger will be atomized and in the best case scenario eliminated. My first initiative would be to seek more sponsors that would work beneath Denny’s ,as they would be the founding organization, and together we will bring about the change that is needed to battle hunger. Also I would try to implement a food bank system that would provide quick food to those who are in need. The thought of a ‘soup kitchen’ came to me as my school did something similar this month. However I was thinking along the lines of not only serving soup but this kitchen would be open minimum 3 times per week where we could prepare hot meals for those in need. I would also take on the task of becoming an advocate for hunger. One of my task as this advocate is to raise the awareness of hunger to others that have no idea as to what is going on. Another one of my task would be to start a food drive. In this drive the community would be notified that persons will be coming around to pick up any food items that they can donate. These donations will be distributed evenly to the poor and needy. And in everything one has to involve the creator of mankind. I would lobby with the community churches that they are to include a special prayer for the hungry people in my community. Finally I would try to form a local hunger action group. For this to be done volunteers will be needed, and this group will locate the hunger persons and think of ways to feed them and make their living more comfortable.

Victoria Kurtz

Springfield
OR
Springfield High School

As America’s most favored dine-in restaurant, families flock to Denny’s for its mouth-watering meals served around-the-clock. When friends want to reunite over fresh appetizers or when families need a restaurant for Sunday brunch, Denny’s takes center stage every time. Ideally, this is the situation for every American child—a warm meal and a loving family; however, according to Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida, 1.5 million children experience homelessness every year in the United States. The National Center on Family Homelessness reports that homeless children are twice as likely to experience hunger as other children, two-thirds worry they will not have enough to eat, and more than one-third report being forced to skip meals. Denny’s, already a powerful activist and partner of No Kid Hungry and America’s Egg Farmers, can expand and strengthen their impact on childhood hunger by connecting with educational institutions, such as elementary, middle, and high schools. As a current Springfield High School student and volunteer at Hosea Youth Services, the local teen homeless shelter, I see copious amounts of teenagers from both my school and community whose minds are wholly and constantly consumed by where and how they will obtain their next meal. These students go without a regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a daily basis; hunger eats them alive. Denny’s, by offering students delicious and hearty meals through partnership programs, would be the sole motivator for struggling students to pursue education. Denny’s can relieve students of hunger who are still striving for education despite their socio-economic disadvantages. Not only would school partnerships spearhead the issue of childhood starvation in America, but it would also inspire students to persevere through crises, to conquer adversity, and to be hungry for knowledge rather than for food.

Zoey Cigar-Hodge

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

2015 HFE Scholarship Winners

2015 HFE Scholarship Winners

Alexander Smith

Luther
OK
Langston University

“local public school students come after school on Wednesday’s so we cook and afterwards have ice cream. Wesley Wednesday is after school and practice which means they are hungry; we make sure they leave here on a full stomach.”

Alexandrea Pitts

Las Vegas
NV
Howard University

“…creating children-specific shelters where the hungry adolescents could go and receive a meal and a place to stay. In addition, the shelters could provide eligible teenagers with work study programs in order to get jobs and make an income that could provide them with food. “

Alissa Gunter

Spring Valley
CA
Monte Vista High School, Spring Valley

“For every high school student or faculty/staff member at Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, CA who performs a community service act or volunteers for an hour in the name of Denny’s, the restaurant donates twenty dollars to the local food bank.”

Alyson Montemayor

Streamwood
IL
College

“…offer the children coloring sheets that parents could buy for them in exchange for donating towards feeding another child elsewhere. […] hang these illustrations throughout it’s facility to encourage others to participate.”

Alyssa Aguila

Salt Lake City
UT
Salt Lake City, UT

“…hire from within the neighborhood. If all positions (line cook, wait staff, and bussers) were hired from within the neighborhood boundaries, the lifestyles of those employed would improve. “

Amanda Scott

Howard University

“Add a Donation line on each customer receipt and a story about a hungry child and how this program has helped printed on the back of the receipt. The same way customers leave tips for their waiters, a customer can leave a donation for a healthy meal coupon. [to be given to] schools in the area. “

Ashley Griggs

Wilmington
DE
Wilmington, DE

“Serving the homeless allowed me to see the happiness in their eyes as they received food for Thanksgiving in the year of 2013.”

Austin Barrazza

Rancho Cucamonga
CA
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

“…recruit residents to volunteer their time. This could be in partnership with local service groups and organizations, but with the overall objective to foster a sense of community engagement.”

Beatriz Ortiz

California State University - Channel Islands

“Denny’s can contribute to end hunger by asking for a dollar donation a day foundation. At each Denny’s location, a flyer and real-life story will be available at the register for customers to read and donate.”

Brandon Fernandez

Hidalgo
TX
Hidalgo, TX

“…fight child hunger by visiting communities and offer meals to the family whose children are suffering from hunger. Also, Denny’s can provide money for the families of the children to buy groceries or to eat at their restaurant. “

Braylon Johnson

Dallas
TX
Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp Winner

“I want to go to collage so I can be a game maker […] and go to an engineer school so that I can learn how to invent games and become a millionare. I really love games and can’t wait to see what makes them work and how they are created. My goal is to turn my grades around and to prove the haters and nah sayers wrong.”

Breanne Da Sylvieira

Alhambra
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“When someone gives you a hand up, they are showing that they believe in you and the greatness within. When someone gives you a handout, they feel sorry for you and lack faith in your potential to be better and greater than your current circumstances might dictate. “

Briana Coles

Univ. of Colorado- Denver

“Under-utilization of resources is the problem rather than lack of resources. Increasing the visibility of these programs, educating parents on what is available, and focusing energies on assisting them in completing the required paperwork would be great areas to focus attention on. “

Briana Starks

Convay
SC
Coastal Carolina University

“Organize a day for families to be able to eat at Denny’s. […]begin the food drive at 8am on a Saturday morning and host it the entire day. […] at least one Saturday each month. To help lower the cost of food, Denny’s could also advertise that they are taking donations from the community for an upcoming food drive. “

Daimiris Garcia

University of Florida

“Denny’s can bring into the media light on childhood hunger, donate profits to volunteers directly working to save these children, and by even encouraging other companies to join the fight and raising contributions against childhood hunger. “

Daniel Ayala

San Antonio
TX
San Antonio, TX

“Denny’s has great purchasing power for food items [to use] to persuade its suppliers to join in efforts towards combating childhood hunger. For instance, Denny’s suppliers may be willing to decrease the costs of supplying certain food items that are provided to children.”

David Naranjo

Lansing
IL
College

“…grants can be given to classroom teachers allowing them to teach the children, [and parents]how to prepare delicious, healthy, and inexpensive meals from the Denny’s menus [and] a cost analysis could be done comparing the price of the meal to a meal from a fast food restaurant.”

Devarea Williams

Garland
TX
Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp Winner

“I don’t just want to be tough I don’t want people to be scared of me because I am a black boy. I don’t want to get shot by the police for nothing. I am a good person and want to show other people I am a good person. I want to go to college [to] become a police officer or build houses, and to teach so that I can help boys like I was when I was in school. “

De’sha Winslow

Atlanta
GA
High School

“Since I was a young child, my dream has always been to become an entrepreneur. Because I have passion for cooking and making other happy, I would love to incorporate my love of culinary arts and baking and own my own bakery.”

Dominique Williams-Jamerson

Lyman
SC
Byrnes High School

“..host a talent show. [proceeds] would go to the high school guidance counselors [who] would be in charge of buying groceries for an afterschool snack bag for the kids to take home. In order to make sure that the money is used to buy groceries, guidance counselors would have to send the receipts back to Denny’s Corporate Office. “

Donnell Murray

Los Angeles
CA
UCLA

“[Denny’s] should partner with places Midnight mission to donate left over food from their restaurant to families on the street who are homeless. This would be a great way for Denny’s franchises to interact with the community and help bring the people of the community together for a great cause. “

Gilmore Augustus

Los Angeles
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“…This “hand up” instilled within me a newfound appreciation for those who truly believed in me. I also realized that Loyola had granted me so much while I had not truly given back to the school. I chose to give back in service. This included working as a tutor, volunteering at a local food service for the homeless, and joining the Junior Ground Crew. Junior Ground Crew members helped incoming freshmen in Loyola’s annual freshman retreat and served as the retreat custodians.”

Jairu Nathan

Dallas
TX
Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp Winner

“The guiding principles that lead my life are go to school, maintain a 3.8 gpa and play sports. [–] graduate high school, graduate college with my masters, and go to the NFL. When I go to the NFL I’m going to give back to the community and give to orphanages. “

Jamie Perry

Desoto
TX
Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp Winner

“I used to want to go to the military but I have changed my mind on that and decided to be an FBI agent. Me and my mom have looked up information about it and I know that the requirements are really hard but I know I can do it. […] My mom says we all have choices in life and someone else’s life story does not have to be my own.”

Jarrett Harper

Hawaiian Gardens
CA
Fisk University

“I volunteered at a church every Saturday to help the homeless, I got to see strong emotions [and] They were happy because they got it from someone who always spoke to them, asked about their troubles, and treated them as equals.”

Jha’Laini Byers

Chino
CA
Chino, CA

“...we can be a bigger voice to increase the process [of awareness about Denny’s No Kid Hungry campaign]. Once the movement is known about, it may open eyes to non healthy eating families. “

Jimmitriv Roberson

Arcadia
LA
Grambling State University

“I realized that I touched the lives of many people, I genuinely gave from the heart, and that I should always be appreciative for what I have because I could be put in someone else’s position who is less fortunate than I am.”

John Romero

Spartanburg
SC
Spartanburg Community College

“Denny’s can end child hunger in my community by raising public awareness of childhood hunger and organizing food drives and fundraisers. They can get the word out by going to school and church’s to talk about the situation and try to get people involved. “

Jordan Artis

Humble
TX
Humble, TX

“Make a meal card that underprivileged families could use for their children. This card will serve as a free meal ticket for a child once per day at Denny’s. [with} proper paper work administered and proof that the child is actually in need of food for them to be able to obtain the card.”

Jorge Quinones Velez

Hopewell
PA
College

“Many […] participate in the EBT program, known as ‘food stamps’ program, where they can only buy so much [and] Denny’s can provide events like cooking classes, their ingredients, and how to cook more and healthy with less money. “

Josiah Temple

Fort Worth
TX
Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp Winner

“I think that school is important because it gives you an education. [and that] can lead to a good job. [that] provides me with money and that can help me obtain things I desire. I do not want to have to struggle with money and have security. I would like to have savings. I feel like savings would provide a good state of mind that if I lost my job I would have a backup plan.”

Keylin Wesley

Los Angeles
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“I interpret the term “hand up” to be synonymous with the process of scaffolding: a learning technique which facilitates individual progress and independent thinking. Centrally, scaffolding decreases neediness and dependency by gradually increasing one’s confidence in his/her own abilities; this confidence propagates thinkers and innovators.”

Khadijah Templeton

Longview
TX
Wiley College

“I know the people were grateful for having something to eat. I am still proud of myself to be a part of something that means a lot to a lot of people. I enjoyed helping people, it gave me a job in school.”

Kiana Cole

Pine Bluff
AR
Pine Bluff, AR

“…PAPERBAG20: we stuffed paper bags with sandwiches, granola bars, chips, and water. [and] went to homeless shelters in the area. They didn’t accept food into the shelter because of safety. [so instead] we passed out the bags in the park [to] homeless individuals.”

Kimberly Cervantes

Compton
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“I am a out speaking representative for all students in the Compton Unified School District, and (slowly but surely) I know, I can change these students lives, both emotionally and academically. Hand ups are most important to me because I feel that change needs to happen more often, and it’s just so critical to be that person. Everyone can make a difference; it just takes courage “

LaKendria Powell

Cleveland
OH
Cleveland State University

“organize community gardens that will provide fresh fruit and veggies. [to be] distributed through the school system, dropped off at homes, The garden can also be used as a market for people to come browse around and make donations for purchasing more crops and non-perishable items.”

Lacey Tallent

Spartanburg
SC
Wofford High School

“Children who are not on a third grade reading level on time are much more likely to see poverty and face hunger. High school drops out rates need to decrease. Denny’s role here could be providing information in an appealing way to high school juniors and seniors to explicitly inform them that they need to attend college. “

Leticia Perez

Lindsay
CA
College

“Perfectly good food is thrown away because someone accidently forgot no mayonnaise. This food can be given to homeless shelters in the area […] and provide schools with gift cards during the holidays so that faculty can give them to underprivileged kids at their schools. “

Maghen LeBlanc

Greenville
SC
JL Mann Academy

“…Donating excess food to area food banks and local outreach programs serving the homeless. My father is the manager of a Pizza Hut restaurant, and their excess food is distributed up weekly by local service groups. “Denny’s Dimes” would offer customers a convenient way to support the cause through contributions at the cash register of their local Denny’s. “

Margarita Brokaw

Northern Arizona University - Yuma

“Team up with Meal on Wheels because there are many grandparents or seniors that help raise their grandchildren, especially when parent are either single parents or both parents have to work. {If they] take a registry of children that reside in the home then they can coordinate meal delivers for both seniors and children in the same household. “

Naja Smith-Woods

Oakland
CA
Fisk University

“Developing [community] gardens by reaching out to city council members to request the use of some of the empty lots in my neighborhood and seeking donations from local stores for gardening supplies. Neighborhood families could donate their time to help with the garden in exchange for food. “

Paige Matthews

Powder Springs
GA
Bennett College for Women

“…Society always assumes that people that are homeless and suffering from hunger are those who have always had a rough life. One woman’s husband made over six figures and she lost everything when he left her, re-married someone else and took their children. She had given up on life and became homeless due to depression.”

Sarah Orozco

Salt Lake City
UT
High School

“…hosting a 5k would be one of the best ways to earn a lot of money for the cause meanwhile people enjoy themselves. We can all work to end child hunger together.”

Shanay Wise

Dallas
TX
Paul Quinn College

“I run a community garden to provide for the food program the North Texas food bank already had in place. Learning to plant food and composting was an awesome rewarding experience. I aspire in the near future to run my own community garden in South Dallas to assist single parents and the elderly.”

Teylor Isome

Cincinnati
OH
Dillard University

“This experience opened my eyes a lot because this was my first time feeding the poor and I saw how grateful they was to eat dinner, a meal most kids I know would take for granted. […] me take my family meals more serious and appreciate them.”

Tiffany Provost-Holloway

Concord
NC
Fayetteville State University

“…We didn’t want to give the homeless downtown Charlotte money because lord knows what they would do with that or buy them food because you wouldn’t know if someone was allergic to the food you gave them. So we got gift cards and loaded them up.”

Trevor Holmes

Nashville
TN
Clark Atlanta University

“I am a part of a program called the “Hot Lunch Program” and every day we give back to the homeless and seniors that are in the neighborhood and out. We make sure that they have a good amount of food to help them threw out the day.”

Vester Waters

Detroit
MI
Mississippi Valley State University

“As a new music artist I support a clothing label called Milestone Clothing. With some of the proceeds of my new single entitled Get Right I was able to donate to Milestone and a hunger effort taking place in Detroit, Michigan for two needy families. After all, in the blink of an eye, I could be the one in need!”

Xavier Young

Spartanburg
SC
Spartanburg High School

“Denny’s could provide backpacks to schools on Fridays, and send nutritious snacks home , and allow parents and children to dine in monthly using their food stamp card.

2016 HFE Scholarship Winners

2016 HFE Scholarship Winners

Anakari Corona

New York
NY
California State University

“Denny’s can make a huge impact through advocating for laws that strive to end childhood hunger. One way is through supporting programs like SNAP, WIC, and the National School Lunch Program. Funding for these programs tends to be threatened or cut often so we need to advocate so that does not happen.”

Andrea Calderon

St. Edward’s University, Texas

“In order to improve Denny’s efforts to help end hunger nationally it is necessary to bring greater exposure on the subject matter to its customers. A way to go about this would be by selecting a few victims of starvation and reveal their stories to Denny’s customers. By putting a face behind the cause, customers will be able to link where their contributions are going to a face, rather an idea.”

Andrew Lam

Phoenix
AZ
Apollo High School

“Dollar in a Meal Menu”- for every item that is purchased in this particular menu, a dollar is to be donated to the respective restaurants’ stash, which would then be used to purchase meals for any hungry child in that area and the prices are set a dollar above the ideal cost.

Bernadette Williams

Lyman
SC
High School

“Denny’s could help fight childhood hunger as a business is through catering at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters on a regular basis.”

Bianca Williams-Alonzo

Los Angeles
CA
School Name Not provided

“Giving a hand up means helping a person to help him or herself. We all have something to give and should do so freely without judging our fellow man. Shami Sall was obviously a man who was filled with compassion and guided by principles. I was inspired to learn about how he affected his colleagues and community.”

Brianna Moore

Cleveland
OH
Shaw High School

“For Denny’s to impact the problem of childhood hunger in my community is to provide avenues for volunteers to learn ways to spread the word about childhood hunger, not only in my community but throughout the world.”

Brianna Moore

Cleveland
OH
Shaw High School

“For Denny’s to impact the problem of childhood hunger in my community is to provide avenues for volunteers to learn ways to spread the word about childhood hunger, not only in my community but throughout the world.”

Brianna Wells

Holt
MI
East Lansing High School

“Partner with local organizations that serve families and children in the community to ensure that children continue to have access to adequate meals. [by donating] uncooked ingredients to community organizations for afterschool and summer snacks and meals.”

Christopher Peay

Durham
NC
North Carolina Central Univ.

“We set up three different sites partnering with churches, and community centers to have a place where children would be safe to come eat, play with their friends, and get help with any homework they may have. This inspired me to start my own nonprofit.”

Ciara Chapman

Albany
GA
Albany State University

“Two years ago my mom, brother and I gave food to the needy on Thanksgiving. I enjoyed this activity so much because I did it with my family and a close family friend.”

Derrick Hobbs

Marshall
TX
Wiley College

“I started a campus food drive to go towards the Marshall Food Pantry in Marshall, TX. To prepare for this process, I had to obtain various signatures from campus officials to do so.”

Diamond Stewart

Atlanta
GA
Kipp Atlanta Collegiate

“Every time I pass Denny’s in my area, it has been a large crowd. it would be great for Denny’s to have facts and statistics on display, raising awareness to childhood hunger so the guest would know the impact of their support.”

Dominique Wallace

Prairie View
TX
Prairie View A&M University

“I always dread going down this street, as I feel horrible and helpless to the situation that these people endure. So I got together with a couple of my friends and we cooked up to what seemed like a Christmas dinner for 100. We then packaged the meals up in to-go boxes.”

Ebony Marable

Charlotte
NC
Hampton University

“My most memorable activity was not organized at all but personal: one-on-one with a homeless person that I saw every day walking my neighborhood. I bought her meal; when I met her back at the corner I could see tears of gratitude in her eyes.”

Elena Vera

Chicago
IL
Loyola University

“By creating an interactive cooking class that takes place after school and during summer and winter school breaks. These time periods are critical, especially considering the fact that many children do not receive free meals outside of school.

Emily Galloway

Greer
SC
University of SC at Columbia

“With at least six locations in the Upstate area, Denny’s could make a huge impact by having collection containers for nonperishable snack items or monetary donations in-house, by giving vouchers for free children’s meals for families to use on the weekends when they have little food to get by with.”

Gamaliel Emiliano Narvaez

Lorain
OH
Ohio State University

“Take leftovers from that day, or cook their remaining food stock before it goes to waste, and prepare meals for battered women’s shelters. Many women in these shelters who are victims of abuse bring their children with them and most of them are likely going hungry.

Halle Stanley

Washington
DC
Howard University

“Christmas time, we made gift baskets for the men and women, [and] for children. We then went back out and bought the same items plus toys and books. We drove to downtown Baltimore and personally delivered these Christmas gift baskets to the homeless people in need.”

Hassan Barnett

Davis
CA
University of California at Davis

Find ways to educate the community surrounding and extended about wastefulness, while increasing civic engagement centered around donations and partnering with after school programs to offer Meals-On-Wheels per se.

Isaiah Julian Martin

Gallup
NM
Hiroshi Miyamura High School

“‘Backpack Club’ was born which helped many families like my own that struggled to obtain food by sending children home with backpacks full of nonperishable food items once a month which helped our community immensely.”

Jabari La Chaux

Dallas
TX
Paul Quinn College

“Local school provided free food care packages to the members of the community, the looks on the faces of mothers, fathers, and children portrayed that we were curing the lack of unity.”

James Martin III

Inglewood
CA
View Park High School

“Provide a food truck that sells food for a discounted price […] in communities with a large number of children that suffer from hunger. […] and reward children with a free meal when they provide proof of a specific grade point average.”

Jasmyn Schumate

American University
Shaker Heights, OH

“Allocate resources to establish community gardens in food desert communities to provide local community members access to affordable high quality healthy foods instead of buying fast food with low-nutritional value.”

Jayce Palamattam

Burlington
NJ
Burlington Township High School

“Denny’s could purchase a plot of land nearby the restaurant and transform it into a community garden. Youth volunteers would tend to it, and if any low-income families assist with the garden, they are welcome to take home vegetables and fruits as well.”

Jayh Gist

Spartanburg
SC
Spartanburg High School

“Denny’s could ask high schools to have a donation option offered at football and basketball games (given that HS football and basketball games yield the highest revenue). Denny’s could also ask high schools to have events such as field days in order to raise money for programs created to end childhood hunger.”

Jeremiah Brown

Kansas City
MO
Park Hill High School

“On days off from school, Denny’s can give a free meal to children 18 and under. Days like these are potentially the hardest days for kids to find a meal. Volunteers can work at Denny’s for a certain amount of hours, and each hour worked is a specific amount of meals earned for a hungry child.”

Jessica Ray

New Orleans
LA
Xavier University

“A few classmates and I made lunch sacks for the homeless community of New Orleans. We decided that as a community service project we would raise money to make brown paper bag lunches for those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Jesus Flores Rodriguez

Davis
CA
University of California at Davis

“Denny’s can start a coalition with other local restaurants in the city and/or state, fundraising through: donating a percentage of sales, asking customers to donate $1 to their charge, or adding a small donation to a selected menu item (perhaps a popular menu item).”

Joseph Guerra

Arlington
TX
University of Texas

“Encourage students in high school and college who have aspirations to work in service-based careers to volunteer at these food pantries. This young adult and child interaction could provide a pathway for one generation to connect with the next in a mentor-sibling fashion.”

Juan Alvarado

Chicago
IL
Richard J. Daley College

“Denny’s has an option as an organization to have freezers full with extra food at their franchise locations. Over stock or food that is left over from the day before can be salvaged by this. This freezer will then be used to feed hungry children Monday through Friday coming out of school.”

Karen Guadalupe Gonzalez

Dallas
TX
Irma Rangel YWLS

“Denny’s should boost their prices by just pennies, and making that difference in price to contribute to such cause. This way, every meal bought would help provide a child’s meal of the day. Prices are always fluctuating, which is why I don’t think there would be a huge problem with the consumers who are buying.”

Kaysha Jones

Houston
TX
Texas Southern University

“17% of Texas families struggled to avoid hunger. In southeast Texas alone. one in four children are food insecure. As an emerging leader this opportunity gave me invaluable insight to the needs of my community”

Krystal Pernell

Lorman
MS
Alcorn State University

“I participate in a program in my city who feeds homeless woman and children. The smiles of happy children and relieved mother’s is priceless. This allows me an opportunity to give back to my community and it affords me the opportunity to never forget where I came from.”

Kyndal Broadway

Simpsonville
SC
Maudlin High School

“Not all parents use their food stamps for what they’re supposed to. I feel that the government should be required to come to the school and survey and interview the children about what goes on at home. In my personal opinion I believe that not feeding your child is abuse.”

LaShyra Nolan

School Name Not provided

“My father died of a heart attack induced by type- 2 diabetes and obesity. Often limited to the more affordable but unhealthy option of fast food, he struggled to find a balance in his daily nutrition, which lead him to a life of obesity. The suffering I watched him endure inspired me to seek methods to ensure that minority families have the tools to fight against this preventative disease.”

Lawrence Malloy

Fort Valley
GA
Fort Valley State University

“It truly touched my heart when a generous donation of food made them smile. When people are in need the most, there’s always someone that needs to provide that assistance and I would like to be that person.”

Marina Mireles

Los Angeles
CA
University of California

“Implement health and wellness programs into local schools. With this program, students would have the opportunity to create their own food and fitness plan that provides them with the tools to incorporate healthy and positive habits into their lives.”

Myles Ruthledge

Inglewood
CA
School Name Not provided

“Giving a hand up is based on the principle that all people have value and only lack the opportunity to realize their potential; an action ignited by compassion for those who are want to see a better world. It is not an obligatory gesture. It is our civic and social duty to be kind and empower one another.”

Robert McGowan

Tuskegee
AL
Tuskegee University

“We helped put together 300 holiday care packages. We sorted and loaded groceries into boxes [with] a little bit of everything in each one. I will never forget this unique opportunity to give back to those in need.”

Ryan Potts

Inglewood
CA
University of Southern California

“Charities can run out, grants may run dry, and handouts can end, but knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving. Knowledge allows one to take control of their own lives and enact the changes they want to see in their own lives. Giving someone a hand up allows them to be independent and escape the demeaning feeling of having to rely on handouts.”

Samira Nematollahi

Simpsonville
SC
Southside High School

“One way to keep students active participants in the program is to create sports activities or any type of summer program that will allow middle and high school students to be directly involved with the students that are in need to support. They will be more likely to keep up with collecting food , and boost the spirits of the kids and the student volunteers.”

Samuel Boyd

Columbia
KY
Adair County High School

“Through No Kid Hungry, the food bank distributes post cards to low-income communities, resulting in an over 77% increase in participation in the program.”

Sandra Okafor

Bowie
MD
Bowie State University

“Me and my brother visited the shelter that we used to stay in after my parents got a divorce and gave them a care package full of food items and a gift card. That shelter is a part of my life and going back and giving them something that my family couldn’t have was incredible and it felt good.”

Sandra Tsikor

Philadelphia
PA
University of Pennsylvania

“Denny’s child cafeteria system would work in two ways - as a physical building, located in low-income neighborhoods, modeled much like soup kitchens but with an environment that is suitable for children, [and] as a partnership system with other organizations, [to distribute food packages”

Shaquille Bullock

Dover
DE
Delaware State University

“[Buying food for a homeless woman] may not be on a very large scale, but I felt like it was a reminder to someone who had little hope that there was still a reason to keep going.”

Tamara Bates

Philander Smith College

“I was inspired by helping prepare 6,480 meals for the hunger and homeless […] for parties to pack thousands of delicious healthy meals[…] for hungry families during the holidays.”

Tamekia Daniels

Orangeburg
SC
South Carolina State University

“In my summer internship at a non-profit that creates packages of dried foods for a whole family] we packed over 44,000 bags. I learned that the smallest of service can impact many in a substantial way.”

Tierra Allen

Yanceyville
NC
North Carolina Central University

“The experience taught me to be grateful but also be a part of making change. You have to “be the change you seek”.”

Todd Barnett

Los Angeles
CA
University of Southern California

“Coordinate with shelters and agencies [in the most impoverished areas] encircling to provide room, while a comparable meal is offered, to ensure that the experience is parallel to what the respective persons might have experienced once or to introduce them to dining protocol.”

Veronica Cortez

New York
NY
City College of New York

“Denny’s can invite families living in a particular poverty bracket to their restaurants. The family will bring their child or children to a restaurant knowing their bellies will be full. Denny’s is known for breakfast but pancakes are not a good source of nutrition. Denny’s can offer lunches and dinners whenever the company sees fit.”

Victoria Nicole Kurtz

Corvallis
OR
Oregon State University

“A Denny’s partnership program funding community gardens with Oregon’s public school systems and—to take it a step further—with local youth homeless shelters would exist as a pillar for the young generation to overcome childhood hunger.”

2017 HFE Scholarship Winners

2017 HFE Scholarship Winners

Adam Mahoney

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“I want to help my community realize their true worth and destiny. To let everyone in my community know, no matter what is thought of them or told to them, they can be successful. My education is for much more than me. It is for all of those young black men in prison right now or even dead, who cannot live out their dreams and destinies. A change must take place in not only my community to establish, a society of equality and support for all. A change that is not handed to them, but a change that is instilled through support and love.”

Adrian Hermosillo

Yucaipa
CA
Crafton Hills College

“Bringing their vision and values to impactful programs and campaigns in the United States will continue to increase their brand equity and reputation nationwide while making a difference for many families and children”

Allyson Gomez

Helotes
TX
Texas A&M University

“Thanks to Denny’s and No Kid Hungry I have the resources to know what I can do in order to make an impact, which many other college students will use after their research is concluded. Many, including myself, will end this essay thinking the same thing, I don’t have to win this scholarship to know I will do a bigger part to help the children of my country be able to eat daily and not worry about when their next meal will come.”

Austin Astwood

Hampton
GA
Lovejoy High School

“I believe if Denny’s came into my neighborhood and started an outreach program for young teens and provided food for needy families would work wonders in my city.”

Bhavana Madhu

Seminole
FL
University of Florida

“I know first-hand how much food is wasted. Various amounts of food is also used for promotions and discounts are sometimes offered for large school or team orders. Therefore, I believe that a certain amount of product could be given to programs such as Meals on Wheels; donated to Rescue Missions, Children's Shelters, Boys and Girls Homes or to help stock local soup kitchens. The donations would not affect the restaurant's proceeds and they could also be used as a tax write off. Additionally, it would minimize the restaurant's daily waste.”

Brianna Hardy

Moore
SC
College of Charleston

“Denny's is a common name to many and a place where families gather often to share meals. Bringing their vision and values to impactful programs and campaigns in the United States will continue to increase their brand equity and reputation nationwide while making a difference for many families and children.”

Brittney Arzu

Los Angeles
CA
Augustus Hawkins High School

“Each time a course is done Denny’s can have a group of workers that collect orders that did not go out and gather all the food left, find a shelter for teens and children and pass that food out.”

Bryanna Brown

Jefferson City
MO
Lincoln University of Missouri

“Thanksgiving of 2015 I helped coordinate a food drive which helped the feed homeless people at the Covenant House of Saint Louis, Missouri.”

Christy Tran

San Leandro
CA
Arroyo High School

“Our local Denny’s can start a promotion where if you bring in a bottle or a can into your nearest Denny’s, they’ll recycle them for you, and you can get your name put onto the “Wall of Donors”. … The campaign can be called “From Bottles to Breakfast”.”

Chunda Walls

Charlotte
NC
Johnson C. Smith University

“Since January of 2012, with the help of my two teenage daughters and a few close friends, we have prepared and distributed more than 500 hot meals, made in my kitchen, to individuals in my local community .”

Daniela Tovar-Miranda

Chicago
IL
University of Illinois in Chicago

Aside from that Denny's can start a summer breakfast and lunch program that feed the local kids during the summer break. It's hard for parents to provide three meals a day for three months while children are on summer break, especially in an at risk neighborhood such as mine. For some of the kids in my community eating something other than school food is a privilege that other people take for granted. With Denny's being able to provide meals helps the kids refrain from both stealing and starving.

Denise Rosal

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“To give a “Hand Up” is to move these people forward out of their dilemmas they are currently facing guaranteeing progress and success in the near future. “Give a man a fish, feeds him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feeds him for a life time.” Various scenarios can pertain to this phrase. Scenarios vary from situation to situation, some may not be seen as hand ups, however they are subjects which will not only help with the present but the future as well.”

Destiny McGee

Marshall
TX
Wiley College

“My idea is that we start community gardens right here in the heart of our campuses. Imagine going to the yard and seeing a garden where you can pick fresh fruits and vegetables for all the hungry students.”

Devon Woodfine

Los Angeles
CA
California State Polytechnic University

“Denny’s can help eradicate childhood hunger in my community by investing in the development of local urban gardens and farmer’s markets.”

Dominique Pierre

Baldwin
NY
Delaware State University

“I had fun serving food and sharing the experience with my teammates, but nothing topped seeing the smiles on everyones faces and that is what made it the most memorable community service.”

Emmanuel Guadarrama

Corpus Christi
TX
Texas A&M University

“Helping to provide vegetable and fruit gardens/parks in their surrounding communities would also help with Denny’s campaign to become more environmentally friendly and help fight child hunger.”

Eyon Brown

Columbia
SC
Westwood High School

“Sponsoring meals for the students in the program as well as their families could not only impact the children but it would impact the entire family. Overall, the idea of a project similar to the backpack program is what I believe to be the best way to fight childhood hunger.”

Frantz Paul

North Miami Beach
FL
North Miami Beach

“If Denny’s were to host food banks in my area and in other local areas every two weeks, childhood hunger would reduce because parents would find extra food to feed their children.”

Frida Aguilar-Trujillo

Long Beach
CA
School Name Not provided

“Denny’s could ask customers to donate money to the cause by rounding their checks up to the nearest dollar. The extra change would eventually add up to be able to provide children with more food to bring home.”

Gennifer Afari

Washington
DC
Howard University

“In my after school enrichment program the children would focus on health and wellness. It would be a seven week program that would aid children on how to lead a healthy lifestyle given their circumstances. “

Georgette Guzman

Victorville
CA
California State University, San Bernardino

“Denny's can organize seasonal food drives in each restaurant. Participants would receive Denny's coupons or an incentive in another form. The community is tightly knit and would be extremely receptive to either of the first two options. Lastly, Denny's restaurants can provide food directly to the children. Denny's could partner with the Greenville County School District and provide every child on free or reduced lunch status at school a free kid's meal for dinner. The school district recently made school breakfast free to all students and a partnership with Denny's would ensure no child in the district went to bed hungry.“

Hagir Khalifa

West Friendship
MD
Morgan State University

“Recently, I have had the privilege to go to Sudan to do charity work. In my homeland, I have now started a charity group where people donate money, goats or food to help families with little or no income.”

Janae Pernell

Dover
DE
Delaware State University

“I envision a nice Saturday evening in Dover, Delaware where the inner-city children will come together, have fun, and can create a bag full of food and snacks. We will have a list of activities to complete throughout the designated hours of the event ( Guest Speakers, Games, Team Building Exercises, Prizes, Question & Answer) ”

Jared Robinson

Rockville
MD
Tuskegee University

“I remember helping a young 5 year old who was trying to lug both a ham and a turkey, he was excited for the feast that would take place on that Thursday.”

Jenna Hernandez

Salt Lake City
UT
Highland High School

“I have thought about Denny’s having a day at least once week that’s free for homeless families with kids. It would get very good results and the kids would be so happy to have a warm free meal inside Denny’s. They would think of it just how I thought of it when I was a kid, they would think of it as a lovely treat.”

Jerel Smith

Winston Salem
NC
Winston Salem State University

“One of the major issues in the summer is child hunger, especially those who are on free and reduce lunch during the school year. One way I would like to assist with this issue Is by creating a summer event titled Friendly Friday's where students that are enrolled at the university can assist in lower income/equal house areas and feed children.”

Jimmie Lewis

Katy
TX
Prairie View A&M University

“Winter break is a very long break where college students are back at home. Some of these students do not have anything to eat while on the break, therefore my boy scout troop and I helped these students by donating canned goods to homeless college students.”

Johnay Withers

Hampton
VA
Hampton University

“Community Chefs is an event where either low income or homeless community citizens come to learn how to cook a healthy, nourishing, meal (main dish, two sides). This meal will be something creative but yet tasty, something new and modern. We would also have a daycare area for people who have kids due to the fact that cooking can be hazardous for children.“

Johnna Odom

Milwaukee
WI
Hampton University

“I assisted in getting individual families through the door and expressed their options to them before selecting a basket. This was a way in which hunger was combatted during the holidays because more people were able to have a meal.”

Justin Samuel

San Jose
CA
San Jose State University

“Denny’s can work with the social services department to provide meals to children. Denny’s can fundraise in the community by donating a certain percent of total sales. This fundraising can be a marketing tool to promote business as well. People will want to support feeding hungry kids and enjoy a meal at Denny’s.”

Kai Standifer

Simpsonville
SC
Mauldin High School

“Denny’s can impact childhood hunger in Greenville, South Carolina, by creating a program where children ages 13 and under can eat at Denny’s restaurants for free three nights per week, if they are receiving free or reduced lunch at school.”

Kaitlyn Canedy

Sunrise
FL
St. Petersburg College

“Denny’s could donate 20 percent of every check to this program for a certain amount of time. All it takes is one small step to make a big difference, whether it is worldwide or in local communities.”

Kayla Hunter

Maplewood
NJ
Spellman College

“In the end, we were able to collect hundreds of pounds of yams, cranberry sauce, mac & cheese pasta, stuffing, greens and more that the Atlanta Mission would prepare and serve to 4,000 homeless men.”

Keith Day Jr.

River Rouge
MI
Clark Atlanta University

“As the residents waited in line to be served, I couldn’t help but think how grateful I am for the things I have in life. Also, how blessed I am to be able to provide meals for others. Each resident was eager to talk to us and share their life stories.”

Khalil Goodman

Duncan
SC
James F. Brynes High School

“I believe that a certain amount of product could be given to programs such as Meals on Wheels; donated to Rescue Missions, Children’s Shelters, Boys and Girls Homes or to help stock local soup kitchens.”

Kristen Shipley

York
PA
North Carolina A&T State University

“I created a bi-weekly program called Aggies Achieve, where Honors students and I led programming for the club members centered around self-esteem, healthy eating and exercise, and educational development, we gave the children a food item from each food group to show them the composition of the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines.”

Kweli Gale

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“2 Corinthians 9:7 teaches us that God loves a cheerful giver. In literal interpretation we tend to think that “giving” comes from the hand. In practical application giving should come from the heart. When we give from the heart we are truly thinking of the independent well being of the person in need of a little extra support. In giving a hand up we break them from the cycle of dependency on others to support their basic needs.”

Layilah Nasser

Montgomery Village
MD
Spellman College

“I developed a Crown C.A.R.E.S tour that has allowed me to travel to different schools around the nation to raise awareness of bullying and harassment prevention and give practical solutions.”

Lazaro Hernandez

Tampa
FL
University of South Florida

"Aside from that Denny's can start a summer breakfast and lunch program that feed the local kids during the summer break. It's hard for parents to provide three meals a day for three months while children are on summer break, especially in an at risk neighborhood such as mine. For some of the kids in my community eating something other than school food is a privilege that other people take for granted. With Denny's being able to provide meals helps the kids refrain from both stealing and starving.

Leannarda Ormond

York
AL
Miles College

“Everyone deserves a good meal , especially during the holidays. The holidays are a time spent around food and family eating a good meal.”

Lillie Franklin

Tuskegee
AL
Tuskegee University

“The university is very significant to the city of Tuskegee, various elementary and secondary education groups visit the university weekly to participate in after school programs. What inspired me to develop the idea of a community garden on campus was to have more engagement between the university students and the community schools.”

Lorice Dykes Jr.

Oakland
CA
Xavier University

“Denny’s could provide hot breakfast for kids whose families cannot afford to always feed them nutritious meals. This will not only help them with their hunger problems but by having a well-nourished stomach the children will be more attentive in the classroom and be able to retain more information.”

Luis Leon

Houston
TX
Yale University

“Denny’s has already pledged to source and serve cage-free eggs in all U.S. restaurants by 2026. Helping to provide vegetable and fruit gardens/parks in their surrounding communities would also help with Denny’s campaign to become more environmentally friendly and help fight child hunger. Using volunteer groups such as community service organization from colleges, universities, and public K-12 schools would provide the work force needed to keep this project going.”

Mary Pat Hector

Atlanta
GA
Spellman College

“My community hunger program at Spelman College was created to bring awareness to food insecurity on campus while allowing students to support their sisters in need. Students form Tennessee State University, Hampton University and other HBCUs have been reaching out to see how I can assist with bringing a shared swipes program to their HBCU.”

Miannette Suarez

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Puerto Rico

“Another creative way to make food available to these kids, can be to create a “special meal”, which may include a smaller version of Denny’s famous set of pancakes accompanied with scrambled eggs and water or juice at affordable price for low income families.”

Nicole Patterson

Greer
SC
Riverside High School

“Denny’s can organize seasonal food drives in each restaurant. Participants would receive Denny’s coupons or an incentive in another form. The community is tightly knit and would be extremely receptive to either of the first two options. Lastly, Denny’s restaurants can provide food directly to the children.”

Olivia Scott-Bibbins

Houston
TX
Langham Creek High School

“If each school picked one or even two days out of the week that students could go to Denny’s and eat, that designated restaurant could donate forty percent of its proceeds made from students dining that day.”

Peyton Sullivan

Los Angeles Metro Area
CA
Denny's Memorial Scholarship Winner

“All too often we are consumed with having to do something that is grandiose to feel that we have made a difference. The reality is that small acts can transform the lives of so many. “Give a man a fish, and he will feed himself for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will feed himself for a lifetime.” This quote is the essence of what it means to give a hand up instead of a handout. I was raised to be a good citizen. I exercise every opportunity that I have to lift others without expectation.”

QuaJenee Melton

Columbia
SC
Coastal Carolina University

“Denny’s can start a summer breakfast and lunch program that feed the local kids during the summer break. It’s hard for parents to provide three meals a day for three months while children are on summer break, especially in an at risk neighborhood such as mine.”

Quran Preston

Washington
DC
Howard University

“An event would be held were people could come and get boxes that have all the ingredients and recipes to make a good tasty meal that is also healthy and not that expensive.”

Robert Brown

Houston
TX
Texas Southern University

“Once completed, we begin traveling around Houston delivering the food to families that have been submitted to us. When we deliver the food, we stay with the family for a few minutes and pray over the food.”

Ronald Postel

Smyrna
DE
Deleware State University

“The most memorable part was the fact that we were all struggling college students, under a lot of pressure and stress. But we at least had food available to us: a commodity that I realized I took for granted when so many people, including young children, simply didn’t have access to it.”

Samuel Ewing

Hayward
CA
California State University-East Bay

“I would choose to end childhood hunger not only in my community but in communities that I’m capable of by advocation, donation and collaboration with businesses to deploy event and sponsorship marketing tactics to encourage society to make purchases with a purpose to feed and save lives.”

Sandra Tsikor

Columbia
SC
Travis Anderson

“Also, sending chefs into schools to host a cooking class sponsored by Denny’s allows children to learn important life skills while also receiving a meal outside of the typical school lunch. ”

Savannah Quintero

College of Southern Nevada

“Many, including myself, will end this essay thinking the same thing, I don’t have to win this scholarship to know I will do a bigger part to help the children of my country be able to eat daily and not worry about when their next meal will come.”

Shanerika Odom

Arlington
TX
Wiley College

“My organization collaborated to offer summer feeding to children. We offered breakfast and lunch daily to underserved children in our communities.”

Shauna Tabb

Baltimore
MD
Morgan State University

“I believe as an executive board member of my biology club that you should embrace your environment around you, you should learn about it, you should know about it and you should support it. Under this program I believe students will have the ability to gain skills learning to live a healthier lifestyle.”

Solomon Lamar

Orlando
FL
Florida A&M Univerisity

“At the event hundreds of us students prepare bags of food from second harvest food bank to give away to struggling families in our community.”

Tariq Muhammad

Fayetteville
GA
Albany State University

“I have been going to Atlanta to help the people in need almost every year in January and February. I go during those months because that is the time it is cold and most companies are not helping because it is not a holiday.”

Teresa Trejo

Broward College

“Denny’s can display material on their commercials as well. Commercials can bring important messages across to America on childhood hunger and make others aware on what is truly going on in our world and how each of us must come together as one to help.”

Tiffany Reid

Chicago
IL
Depaul University

“Denny's can organize seasonal food drives in each restaurant. Participants would receive Denny's coupons or an incentive in another form. The community is tightly knit and would be extremely receptive to either of the first two options. Lastly, Denny's restaurants can provide food directly to the children. Denny's could partner with the Greenville County School District and provide every child on free or reduced lunch status at school a free kid's meal for dinner. The school district recently made school breakfast free to all students and a partnership with Denny's would ensure no child in the district went to bed hungry.“

Tomeka Johns

Shreveport
LA
Wiley College

“At my location me and my team serve about 500 families over the community. We had chicken spaghetti, string beans, corn, rolls, and dessert. There are jumpers for the kids, cotton candy machine, popcorn, and candy apples.”

Toneia Douglas

Spartanburg
SC
Spartanburg High School

“By sponsoring these events and promoting participation, it encourages others to come out and help people that they may not know are suffering. Another way Denny’s can help in my community is by donating to local schools.”

Travis Anderson

Columbia
SC

“Also, sending chefs into schools to host a cooking class sponsored by Denny's allows children to learn important life skills while also receiving a meal outside of the typical school lunch. There are a lot of creative ways that Denny's could raise awareness to fight child hunger that do not involve holding fundraisers or donating money.”

Zarraya Buford

Columbus
GA
Fort Valley State University

“However; the most memorable time during my volunteer service with my mom’s organization was when a little girl whom looks to be about 4 to 5 years old came up to me, and she asks could she have another plate because she knew she will be hungry again tomorrow.”