Small town teen, large scale effort

Thursday, February 13, 2020
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Kaden Heller (Photo by Christine Bakke)

On Nov. 22, 2019, Reed Point High School student Kaden Heller attended the “Governor and First Lady Youth Leadership Council.”

The council is comprised of 21 teens from across the state. They joined forces at the capitol building in Helena to start the fight against childhood hunger. Heller said that he was inspired by Reed Point FCS teacher Sarah Milligan and her efforts to keep the Cole’s Pantry going.

According to the Cole’s Pantry Facebook page, “Seven years ago, Fallon Pelican joined Bridger FCCLA. She had an idea to start a charity in memory of her little brother Cole who had died in a horseback riding accident.”

Heller also simply wanted to make a greater impact. When asked how prevalent childhood hunger is in Montana Heller replied, “It’s a pretty big deal, and it’s a problem that people don’t realize there is. The problem is bigger than we realize and there are many pantries opening that we have not had in the past years.”

The 21 participants are taking action and are completing projects throughout the year to help resolve the issue.

In April, each of the council members will do a project in their own community to combat hunger.

Heller has already taken his own steps to aid in resolving this problem by working with IGA. In December, Heller and IGA partnered together to provide Christmas baskets for people in need.

Heller also plans on working with neighboring schools, and making snack bags to send home with children who need extra food. When asked what ways others can get involved in this project, Heller said, “People can interact with the ongoing projects or getting information and knowledge about hunger issues in their communities and in the state.”

To learn more about the Governor and First Lady Youth Leadership Council visit: