WTOC Top Teen: Sophie Carney works to end childhood hunger in Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Sophie Carney is a busy 16-year-old student at Country Day School.

When she isn't competing with the Savannah Sharks or participating as a varsity cheerleader, she's got her head in the books for her AP classes.

When Sophie decided she wanted to make a difference in our community, she turned to her dad – a pediatric surgeon, for some ideas.

"He gets kids that haven't eaten in a while, things like that, so he kind of told me about this and once I heard about this, I just couldn't bear to listen anymore," Sophie explains.

Inspired, Sophie created the "Hearty Snacks" campaign, a program to provide free meals to 85 children at Windsor Forest Elementary, with a friendly face to talk to at the dinner table. She held her first event on October 24th.

"They would say things like 'oh my goodness this is the best day of my life' or 'oh I'm getting dinner tonight.' it was just so heartwarming to hear them say these things," she says.

Sophie spent the summer calling businesses around Savannah, asking for food donations. She certainly got some "no's" along the way.

"She put in so much hard work in the past six months," Sophie's mom, Shari, says. "The day she got her first yes, I was watching from inside, I was in the kitchen, and I saw this smile just grow across her face and it was so big and
I thought 'she got somebody!'"

"I just thought about the kids and had to keep pushing through, I had already gotten so far, i just knew it was going to work out," Sophie adds.

Publix, McDonald's, Chick-Fil-A, Olive Garden, and Bow Tie BBQ have offered to donate this year.

Sophie, along with volunteers, will continue to serve meals once a month. She's hoping to expand that to weekly meals in the future.

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