Santa Clara University

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Local hero

Stephanie Wilson’s never gone hungry. To her, that’s the best reason in the world to fight hunger in the Santa Clara Valley.

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Photo: Charles Barry
“Growing up in San Jose, I’ve always been very privileged,” says the SCU junior. “But there are a lot of areas in this community where people don’t have enough to eat.”


Wilson is a recipient of the firstever Second Harvest Food Bank Outstanding Youth Award, presented this year in recognition of her work drumming up food donations on campus. “She’s very quiet and unassuming, but extremely driven,” says Matt Smith, director of social justice ministries for Campus Ministries.

As an intern at Campus Ministries, Wilson helped inaugurate a can sculpture contest for the Residential Learning Communities (RLCs), in which each RLC collected barrels of canned food and used the cans they collected to create a sculpture. (The winning sculpture was a dragon that spit flames made of cans of chili.) The goal of the contest was to increase participation in the fall food drive—and it worked.

Another of Wilson’s initiatives placed collection barrels at the end-of-term sidewalk sale at the Cellar Market this winter so that students could buy bulk items and donate them to Second Harvest. The idea came from Bon Appetit retail manager Sean Yefsky and was seized upon by Wilson. “I had the idea, but she did the work,” he says.

With participation from athletics and the RLCs, the fall drive brought in 3,479 pounds of food and $701.55 in cash—which combines to more than 4,000 meals.

Deborah Lohse

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