Hunter McCollum, a 16-year-old McGehee High School student who volunteered more than 3,600 hours in his community and expanded the McGehee Boys & Girls Club meals program to provide meals to hungry children in Desha County, will receive the McGehee Boys & Girls Club Volunteer of the Year Award Saturday night at a banquet and fundraiser featuring Swamp People stars Jacob and Troy Landry.
McCollum became concerned about childhood hunger in the fourth grade when he saw two young girls gorge themselves on so many honey buns and cartons of milk that they became ill, because they had gone all weekend without food.
It was an image that never left him.
Later, while volunteering at the McGehee Boys & Girls Club, which had a meals program, McCollum learned that only 10 percent of the children eligible for free and reduced priced school lunches receive them.
It then occurred to him that there are children who don’t have access to the McGehee Boys & Girls meals program and he wanted to do something about it.
He told the club that he would recruit and train volunteers if it would open new meal sites and help secure a funding source. The club agreed, and with McCollum’s help, the meal program expanded to four more communities in Desha County, serving more than 25,000 lunches last summer.
McCollum spent about four hours a day packaging and serving the meals and traveled more than 50 miles a day to deliver meals in Desha County.
For his efforts, McCollum was named the 2012 Arkansas High School Volunteer of the Year through the Prudential Community Spirit Awards program.