Nicholas Metropulos, a senior at Hellenic College in Brookline, Mass. and lifelong fisherman, was recently recognized as a Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholar by the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation for his innovative efforts to help end hunger. In addition to his studies, Metropulos serves as executive director of Fishing for Families in Need, an organization founded in 2007 that partners with fishing tournaments to donate a portion of the catch to families in need and soup kitchens.
Growing up in southern Florida, Metropulos saw an opportunity to end hunger hidden in plain sight. Taking advantage of otherwise surplus fish caught in fishing tournaments, Metropulos’s organization re-purposes it to feed hungry people.
As executive director of Fishing for Families in Need – a role he took at age 15 – he recruits youth and adult volunteers to gut, clean, and fillet the fish for soup kitchens to cook and serve. Last year, he provided over 1,000 pounds of fresh fish to patrons of soup kitchens. Additionally, during his tenure as executive director, the organization has grown from working with one tournament to 10 tournaments each year.
“The fish caught during the tournaments was going to waste. By partnering with tournaments, we are providing this expensive fresh protein to families who wouldn’t normally be able to afford it,” said Metropulos.
The Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship recognizes students who drive awareness and mobilize youth to be catalysts for innovative models that provide solutions to eliminate hunger in America. The scholarship awardees comprise a wide variety of students, ages five to 25. Five are recognized at the national level and receive a $5,000 grant and $5,000 scholarship. Twenty young people are awarded at the regional level with a $1,000 grant. Since the program’s inception in 2007, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has awarded more than $800,000 in grants and scholarships.
“The hunger-ending actions of this year’s Stop Hunger Scholars illustrate how members of Gen Z will be the generation that ends hunger,” explained Roxanne Moore, executive director, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. “They are go-getters that dream big, find innovative approaches to solve social issues, and challenge us that if they can do it, you can do it,” she added.
In addition to Fishing for Families in Need’s donation program, the organization also offers a Responsible Angling Education program, which has taught thousands of children from ages 5-18 to be ethical fishermen and good environmental stewards through hands-on classes. In these trainings, experienced youth volunteers teach children the basics of the sport as well as how to enjoy it in a more responsible manner by utilizing certain techniques, understanding local rules and regulations, and using more environmentally friendly materials.
Core topics taught include invasive species, overfishing, conservation, and more. Participants are also taught basic fishing knots, how to cast a fishing rod properly, and about what to carry in their tackle box. The end of each program concludes with a field trip to a local pier, lake, or nature center, where participants can put into practice all they’ve learned.
In honor of its 20th anniversary, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has created the Generation Zero Hunger Fund and will match every dollar donated (up to $20,000), providing additional support for the youth leaders of Generation Zero Hunger to accelerate their impact. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/GenZFund to learn more.
About Sodexo North America
Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 72 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management, and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government, and other environments daily. The company employs 160,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada, and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $19 billion in goods and services from small to large businesses. Sodexo is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion and safety, while upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and ethical business conduct. In support of local communities across the U.S., in 2018, Sodexo contributed over 159,500 in volunteer hours, and since 1996, the Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed nearly $34.5 million to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit us.sodexo.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.