Once the holidays passed, Rodgers set to work on his next project. He started an online fundraiser to accept rolling donations called “Be a Hungry Hero with Landon Rodgers” through Ozarks Food Harvest’s website and advertised the project’s mission through community flyers, the school newspaper and word of mouth. His mission won the hearts of its viewers, and in two months, he rounded up $2,110, which funded 8,440 meals that were eventually donated through Ozarks Food Harvest.
His mission didn’t stop there. After the Hungry Hero fundraiser ended, Rodgers wanted to coordinate one last push to conclude his year-long project. He enlisted 22 students and parents, and the group assembled 792 Weekend Backpack bags, which totaled more than 4,500 meals.
The project was a brainstorm from a weekly event Willow Springs High School put together. Rodgers, along with other students, stayed after school almost every Wednesday to put together Weekend Backpacks for fellow students who would then receive them anonymously in their lockers with the help of the school’s administration staff. After deciding the event could extend to the community, Rodgers asked Ozarks Food Harvest for their partnership and Willow Springs High School for donated backpacks, and the one-day assembly was a go.
After Rodgers presented his senior project, American Fundraising Professionals recognized him as the Youth Philanthropist of the Year, and the American Red Cross named him the Youth Samaritan of the Year. Now a year out of high school, Rodgers is enrolled in a two-year nursing degree program at Missouri State University’s West Plains campus with plans to eventually earn a doctorate in nursing practice.