A student, Drew Mirolli, at North Paulding High School in Georgia is a founder of a non-profit organization that collects food and clothing for people in need. The non-profit called Operation Poverty has raised close to $13,000 to stock up a local food pantry and to help rebuild a girls’ dormitory in Uganda. As great as those things are, that is not what sets Operation Poverty apart from other non-profits that focus on helping those in need.
Operation Poverty believes that in order to understand the crisis of homelessness and poverty you have to experience it. The organization issued a challenge to the students of North Paulding High School- to sleep outside and live on $2 a day with daily rations of oatmeal, small PB&J sandwiches and ramen noodles. Over 200 students joined in “Challenge Week” with some dropping out along the way.
When the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked Mirolli if anyone dropped out of “Challenge Week” Mirolli responded, “We had a couple of freshman girls — it is just a little too hard. That almost makes me happy. That means that they are actually experiencing what it’s like.”
Mirolli was honored earlier this month in Washington D.C. for his outstanding community service. He was awarded the Prudential Spirit of Community Award which recognized outstanding service by middle and high school students. Mirolli is graduating this year but has passed the challenge project onto a senior at a rival high school He hopes that Operation Poverty will go nationwide with more and more students getting involved.
You can read Ann Hardie’s full interview with Drew Mirolli at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.