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Student Who Established Local Food Pantry Wins National Service Award

Student Who Established Local Food Pantry Wins National Service Award

By Jeanne Hedden Gallagher

October 21, 2020

Adam Fellows, a second-year student of Economics in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was recently honored with a national service award from Hormel Foods.

This year, Hormel launched its 10 Under 20 Food Hero award honoring young people who are

“working to create a better world by designing innovative ways for a more transparent, secure, and sustainable food system.”

Fellows was recognized for his work addressing food insecurity in his hometown of Sherrill, New York. While a senior at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School, Fellows organized a food drive and collected hundreds of items to donate to the local food pantry. Then he learned his town had no pantry.

Fellows worked with town supervisors to design and obtain permission to install a self-serve pocket pantry near the town hall. Town residents are encouraged to “Give what you can, take what you need.”

This project inspired others in nearby towns to build additional pantries.

“I had no idea this project would have such an impact,” Fellows said. “I'm just hoping that it can continue to inspire others and hopefully in the future I can continue to make a difference in food sustainability.”

As part of this award, Fellows received a $2,000 grant from Hormel that he donated to the Madison-Oneida Child Protective Services.


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.