Maria Belding, 2014 Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship Recipient

Apply by Dec. 5 to #Get5Give5 and fight hunger in your hometown
Nov 18, 2014 11:45 AM ET

Maria’s journey of service began with a bang – the sound of boxes of macaroni and cheese made hitting the dumpster as they were reluctantly thrown out after reaching their expiration date. Maria knew if a system existed for food banks to reach out to each other for surplus or needed food, there would be much less food going to waste. From this idea, she co-created M.E.A.N.S. (Matching Excess And Need for Stability), a database approved for trial in Iowa and South Dakota that does just that. While waiting for M.E.A.N.S.’ approval, Maria also co-created “Fighting for Food: A Guide to Running Successful Food Drives in High Schools,” after recognizing the lack of online resources for student leaders and volunteer groups. The Guide has been picked up by organizations nationally and has been distributed to students in 30 states and six countries.

Maria received a $5,000 scholarship to put towards her education at American University, along with a $5,000 grant presented to the Iowa Food Bank Association.

Now a freshman at American University in Washington, D.C., Maria continues to grow M.E.A.N.S. and think outside the box to fight hunger. In five years, she hopes to see M.E.A.N.S. in communities around the country and herself in medical school with the ultimate goal of running medical operations for a D.C. homeless shelter or a free clinic operating in a low-income neighborhood. Read Maria’s recent blog.

All students that are working to end hunger in their communities are encouraged to apply this year. Winners get a $5,000 scholarship for school and a $5,000 matching grant to give to their hunger charity. Apply by December 5 to #GET5GIVE5 in your hometown. To apply, for more information and official rules, visit


About the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarships
The Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarships recognize and reward students who have made a significant impact in the fight against hunger. The scholarship recipients each receive $5,000 for their education as well as a matching grant in their name for the hunger-related charity of their choice. The Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship is named for the Sodexo Foundation's founder and former president, who was an unstoppable champion in the fight to end hunger. Thanks to Steve's efforts, which made these scholarships possible, an emerging generation of leaders will be cultivated in the fight against hunger. 

  About Sodexo Sodexo, Inc., leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for Sodexo Foundation, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $22 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. The company's Better Tomorrow Plan adds a global approach to Sodexo's continuing commitment to improving the quality of life for customers in three key areas of the environment, health and wellness, and community development. Visit the corporate blog at to learn more.