AnaRose Hebein is a 12 year old girl who for her 10th and 11th birthday asked her friends to donate money to host a mobile food pantry for her birthday in lieu of giving her birthday presents.
AnaRose was ten when she attended a farmers market style food pantry with her mother, Jacqui Hebein who works for Northern Illinois Food Bank on April 16, 2006 where she helped pass out grapes to individuals coming to the food panty. When leaving she was so moved by the experience of helping people, she told Jacqui she needed to do something else and asked if she could have her friends do that for her birthday. Jacqui explained that the food pantries share the maintenence of the food and the fee for a Northern Illinois Food Banks Mobile Food Pantry Truck is $650 and their family could not afford that. So AnaRose sat in the backseat of the car and figured out that if she invited 30 of her classmates and friends to her 11th birthday, they could make a donation instead of bringing her gifts and the kids that attended could help pass out the food to the needy families. Ana then sent out letters to the parents of her classmates asking if they would support her idea, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
On August 4, 2006 AnaRose hosted the first birthday mobile food pantry with Open Arms Mission at Community Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Villa, Illinois where 130 food insecure families were given groceries from the Northern Illinois Food Banks Mobile Food Pantry truck.
On August 8, 2007 for her 12th birthday, AnaRose repeated her efforts again. This time over 200 familes were served by the Northern Illinois Food Banks Mobile Food Pantry at Community Church of Holy Spirit in Lake Villa, IL. AnaRose decided it was better to give than receive and has decided to continue her selfless act of giving up birthday gifts in exchange for food for low income families. Her plan is to continue giving her birthday for families in need. She has proven that children can see answers when adults put obstacles in their way.
AnaRose also wrote the following poem that was used by the Northern Illinois Food Bank for Hunger Awareness Day activities in June of 2007.
"The Face of Hunger"
The face of hunger has many disguises,br>Such as families of various sizes
Homeless people living on the street,
And everyday neighbors that you may meet.
Children at school; children at play
Who go hungry every day.
Parents, teens and babies too,
Also need food from me and you.
Isn’t it great that there is a day, that helps these people in some way?
So pull out some of your extra pay
And give a donation for Hunger Awareness Day!