Most seniors in high school are thinking about where they are going to continue their education or what they will do in their free time, but not Taylor.
Taylor first learned about the World Food Programme during a visit to the UN Headquarters in New York while she was attending a LeadAmerica program during her sophomore year. Taylor noted, “I was in awe of WFP and what it accomplishes, especially as it does not receive funding from the UN.”
As a senior in high school Taylor became involved with the Community Problem Solving Program (CmPS), an international program in which individual students or groups identify a problem in the community and come up with a project to alleviate or solve the problem.
As she was brainstorming project ideas Taylor said, “WFP stayed in my mind, and when I came up with my project idea I knew WFP was the perfect organization to contribute to in order to make a difference globally.”
And thus, The Cookbook Project was born.
Taylor created a set of recipe cards that included recipes from 135 different countries and compiled them into a cookbook. She sold the cookbook for US$20 donation and donated all the money to WFP.
Working with her local Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce Taylor organized the Foods of the World event. In preparation for the event, members of the community volunteered to make more than 200 two-ounce samples of 18 recipes from the cookbook. The event was held during her city’s 85th birthday celebration, as it was expected to draw several thousand people. For a small fee of US$5 you could attend the event and sample as much as you wanted. That night 118 people attended, raising more than US$500. In addition to food, brochures about WFP and world hunger were distributed, including information about how each person could help.
“I never imagined that this project would grow the way it did. From the project, I learned that it is possible for a single person to create something that will make a difference, however small it may be.”
So far, Taylor has raised more than US$927 for WFP. And though she has graduated from high school and is now a freshman in college at University of Florida in Gainesville, she isn’t done making her impact in the world. For the past few months she has been hard at work planning the 2nd Annual Foods of the World event and hopes that this year she will be able to raise even more funds for WFP.
When asked what she would say to a student who felt they couldn’t make a difference she replied, “The only way they can fail to make a difference is if they do not try. No matter how big or small an effort, it does make a difference to someone, and one person is all it takes. If you can impact one life with your efforts, it has made a difference.”