In 2007, the ShopRite Partners in Caring contest discovered a very special eight-year old in rural Pittstown, New Jersey. Her name was Kyra Paillex. ShopRite recognized Kyra as a Hunger-Fighting Super Kid who used her green thumb to fight hunger in her community. As a thank you, ShopRite honored Kyra as a hunger-fighting hero and placed her on the front of a special limited edition Cheerios box.
Kyra’s father, Chip Paillex, has always inspired Kyra to give back to her community. As the founder of America’s Grow-a-Row, an organization he created in 2002, Chip has developed a group of community gardens, including Peaceful Valley Orchards in Pittstown, that donate 100% of their crop to local New Jersey food pantries.
Last year, thanks to Chip’s leadership, as well as the nearly 950 volunteers who gave over 5,000 hours of their time, America’s Grow-a-Row donated over 317,000 pounds of fresh produce to community food pantries.
“Our program exposes kids to the idea that there are people in need, and it plants the seed for giving back. When these kids become tomorrow’s leaders, they’ll be much more likely to encourage their co-workers or employees to get involved in something like this,” says Chip.
Chip’s daughter Kyra, now eleven years old, is extremely dedicated to America’s Grow-a-Row, working side by side with her father and the many volunteers who plant, tend and harvest the fruits and vegetables. In addition, Kyra teaches others, including adults, children on school field trips and kids in the summer camp onsite, how to work the soil.
Corn is Kyra’s favorite vegetable to pick and that she likes harvest time the best. She also helps to raise money and awareness for the project in the off-season. Her father concludes that they don’t push Kyra to be involved, but rather, she loves the work and her chance to give to her community.
“Kids like Kyra are really an inspiration to us all and we are so proud of her continued efforts to fight hunger in the community,” said Christine Magyarits, ShopRite Partners In Caring spokeswoman. “I’m not surprised that she is still at it – reaching out to those in need and lending a helping hand. Kyra is a shining example of how we can get involved early in our lives, and her father should be so proud!”