Cohen & Malad, LLP is happy to announce the winner of the 2019 Spirit of Caring, Noah Zimmer!
Name: Noah Zimmer
From: Granger, Indiana
“Winning this scholarship truly means a lot to me because of what it stands for. This scholarship is meant to reward students who have a great sense of community, and who desire to give back to the community in positive ways. By being chosen as a recipient, this means that Cohen & Malad, LLP considers me to be one of the strongest candidates that represent the mission of helping others. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to help people in need. To be recognized and rewarded for my actions within the community by Cohen & Malad, LLP gives me self-satisfaction and determination to continue what I am doing. This scholarship will influence my education in a very positive way because it will help me pay for a degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Indiana University, which will help me live a better life full of giving back to the community and positively influencing others to do the same. My career aspirations currently are to hopefully work for NASA, SpaceX, or even teach Astronomy to anyone I can. I believe that by reaching these aspirations, I will be able to help make an impact on the world and on people’s individual lives.”
“Under the warm glow of our hanging dining room light, my family and I were discussing how each of our days went at dinner. My sister was triumphing over an A she earned on her history test, my mother was telling us what she had taught her students that day, and I remember talking about a project I needed to get done. We were going around the table like usual until we got to my father, who told us something he had learned during his day. “One out of every four children go without food every day in the entirety of St. Joseph County.”
When I heard this come from my father’s lips, I was taken aback. I remember looking down at the pork chop on my plate and thinking about just how many children did not have what I did. Having food on the table was something that I did not worry that often about; yet, there were kids who went day-to-day worrying about where their next meal would come from. From that point onward, I knew that something had to be done.
Throughout my life, I have always felt a sense of belonging within my community. For instance, throughout the majority of my life I have been involved in the 4-H Youth Development Program. In 4-H, I have volunteered my time to the community by playing piano and bringing joy to nursing home residents during the holiday season, shopped for and collected donations for the Toys for Tots drive, conducted seasonal tasks for my elderly and disabled neighbors such as snow blowing or yard work whenever they need it. While these are just a few examples of how I have contributed to making my community a better and happier place, each experience illustrates my ability to utilize my time, resources, and talents to positively serve others.
With the skills and experience that I had obtained through my years of community service and leadership development, I felt that I had the abilities necessary to tackle this huge problem involving hunger in my community.
In 2017, my sister and I decided to create a food insecurity program called Meat Hunger, with the goals of making whatever impact we could so that we could help the hungry people in our community. By raising funds and receiving donations from local businesses and individuals, my sister and I have created a buyer’s group in the St. Joseph County 4-H livestock auction. As a buyer’s group, we are able to purchase livestock animals from 4-H members at above market value so that they can continue funding their own projects. We then give the purchased livestock to our partners, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry and Cultivate, who then send the livestock off to be processed and distributed to the Northern Indiana Food Bank and other such locations.
Within our first year of starting the program, Meat Hunger was able to provide 24,000 protein-based meals to the hungry people of St. Joseph County Indiana. A feat that surprised both my sister and myself immensely. We hope to keep improving this program into the future while making a lasting impact on our community as a whole.
Currently, we have added a non-perishable food drive to our efforts, as well as a mentoring program that will teach young members of our community fundamental life skills such as leadership, community service, responsibility and the value of community. With these additional extensions onto the main Meat Hunger program, I am hoping to make an even bigger impact on the community this year.
One of the most paramount aspects that I’ve learned through this whole process is the definition and importance of community. To me, a positive and healthy community is a group of people who shares a similar interest in making a difference in the world. To be a part of a community, means that an individual has an ideal sense of citizenship, responsibility to that community, and possesses a feeling of cohesiveness with other people in said community. It is a place where feelings of fellowship can manifest, and where members are actively helping each other and trying to improve the lives around them. For me personally, I have seen what the community can do when it comes together to accomplish something amazing. Without the help of other businesses and individuals/volunteers, Meat Hunger would not be nearly as successful as it has been and will hopefully continue to be.
Being a part of such a community and group that is able to accomplish incredible feats is an absolutely indescribable feeling. If I had to define what a community was back when I was sitting at the dinner table with my family that one night, I do not think I would have known what to say; however, that is no longer the case.”