Meet John Woods, 2015 Giraffe Award Winner

This is the fourth in a series of profiles on the 2015 Giraffe Award winners. Each Tuesday leading up to the Champions for Children Event, we will feature a profile on a 2015 Giraffe Award Winner and showcase how they “stick out their neck” for Maine children, youth and families. This week, we are pleased to introduce you to John Woods and his organization Full Plates, Full Potential.

With one in four children in Maine experiencing food insecurity, it is clear that child hunger is a growing problem for Maine kids and their families. No one knows this better than John Woods, co-founder of Full Plates, Full Potential and this year’s recipient of the 2015 Organizational Giraffe Award

Combining his business expertise with his passion for the cause, Woods sought to create an innovative and effective approach to raising awareness and identifying solutions to the child hunger crisis in Maine. Full Plates, Full Potential does just that.

 “Hunger prevents kids from reaching their full potential. It’s an epidemic that’s threatening Maine’s future. Our network provides support to USDA Child Nutrition programs and looks to support organizations that are bringing innovative solutions to the challenge. Doing so creates smart partnerships, reduces inefficiencies and establishes best practices,” says Woods.

In 2014, Woods founded Full Plates, Full Potential after serving as the state chairman for Share Our Strength, overseeing the No Kid Hungry campaign. The idea was to engage community and business leaders, schools and nonprofits, seeking solutions to end childhood hunger through policy, education, research, and community development.

Since its inception, Full Plates, Full Potential has been immensely successful in raising funds and awareness for child hunger. By uniting stakeholders across the state, most notably business leaders and government officials, Woods is sending a strong and clear message on behalf of Maine children: it is unacceptable that in a small state like Maine, our kids go hungry.

“John utilizes his business skills and experience to raise Maine citizens’ awareness of the pressing issue of childhood hunger in our state and its consequences. Full Plates Full Potential has engaged successfully the media, businesses and communities across the state of Maine to tackle this issue head on,” said State Senator Rebecca Millett in nominating Woods for the award.

Wood’s attitude is contagious and people are paying attention. This is what makes him and the organization champions for child hunger. Wood‘s sees a problem in our state and is confident that together we can find a solution, and he is not backing down until we do.

John Woods and Full Plates, Full Potential will be awarded the 2015 Organizational Giraffe Award for their work to eliminate child hunger in Maine and for their service on the State Legislature’s Student Hunger Task Force. John Woods’ work with Full Plates, Full Potential demonstrates the importance of building collaborative partnerships to create solutions for Maine kids. We can all play a role to solve this growing crisis for Maine kids and families.

Read more about Full Plates, Full Potential in the Maine Magazine. Learn more about student hunger in Maine in the KIDS COUNTS Data Center. Don’t forget to join us for the 2015 Champions for Children Event on October 27, 2015.

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