For many people, summer is a time to relax and recharge, to put off the stresses of the average day until September knocks on the doorstep.
Michael Meads '18 is not one of those people.
After completing his Fifth Form year at the Abbey, Michael headed to a week-long leadership conference at Oklahoma Christian University. When the conference ended, he returned to his hometown of Kennebunk, Maine, for a little relaxation. Kennebunk is a popular summer destination for tourists, who often will rent houses on the beach for a week at a time. Michael and his cousins found themselves discussing these rentals one day, and it occurred to them that many people leave so much waste behind after their week is up. Because they don't want to travel home with excess, they will often throw out perfectly usable food. To Michael, this seemed like an extreme waste when so many people struggle to put food on the table.
Michael's church is always asking for donations, and thus, the idea was born: collect unopened non-perishables from renters, donate them to his church, who in turn would send the items to local food banks throughout Maine.
Michael approached Kennebunk Beach Realty with the idea, and they were thrilled. So Michael left bags with the rental office and made signs instructing the renters to return unopened, perishable goods with their house key at the end of the stay.
In total, Michael estimates that he collected 5-10 bags per week. Every Saturday, he went to the rental office, picked up the bags, and brought them over to his church. "It feels great to help people," Michael says. "I was able to meet a lot of new people through the summer, and I knew it was going to a good cause."
Although he has had to stop the program while he is in school, Michael plans on continuing next summer. Of course, his plans don't stop there: "I would like to expand the idea to other communities, too," he says. Meads Feeds Maine may very well be a statewide initiative by the time he's through - a true testament to Michael's character.