Hadley Husisian is an exceptional 16-year-old. She’s an international fencing champion who has won a Junior World Cup silver medal in Bratislava, Slovakia and a team Cadet World Cup gold medal in Grenoble, France. She is also the current Cadet (under 17) Women’s Epee national champion and ranked #1 in the country at both the Cadet and Junior (under 20) levels for Women’s Epee.

This year, she was selected by USA Fencing to compete at both the Cadet and Junior World Championships. Then, the pandemic hit. The World Cup was canceled and Hadley had more free time than she expected.

She knew she wanted to use the extra time to help people in need, and set a big goal for herself to do so: raising one ton of food donations for Food for Others.

“When the pandemic first began, I read about the thousands of people who were losing their jobs and facing financial difficulties,” she said. “I wanted to help but wasn’t sure how since I was unable to volunteer directly with an organization during the quarantine period. Then, early in April, a neighbor emailed us asking if we would like some of the 20 bunches of bananas that she had accidentally ordered from Peapod instead of 20 individual bananas. It occurred to me that there were probably people who could really use those bananas a lot more than we could. The bananas were my first donation and the beginning of my food drive.”

Hadley started promoting her food drive by reaching out to her neighbors and passing out fliers with information about Food for Others. She offered to pick up donations from donors’ front porches to avoid contact. As the “Ton of Food” drive expanded, Hadley started reaching out to more people and has now distributed fliers and collected food in at least 100 local neighborhoods.

“Some people have donated several times and e-mail me to see how the food drive is going,” Hadley said. “People also have left me candy or thank-you notes with their donations. One of my favorite donors is an 82-year-old piano teacher who lives in Oakton. She has donated three times and we keep in touch over e-mail.”

Just months later, Hadley’s “Ton of Food” food drive has amounted to 6,271 pounds of donations to FFO. She’s also raised more than a thousand dollars in monetary donations. She has now increased her goal to ten tons of food!

To donate to Hadley’s Food Drive, email a_ton_of_food@zohomail.com