Missoula Sentinel High School Sophomore Emma Blakely has singlehandedly raised nearly $5,000 to help fight childhood hunger.

She did such a good job that Montana Governor Steve Bullock came all the way from Helena to honor her on Monday afternoon, appropriately enough, in the school cafeteria.

Blakely said her goal to start the project was modest.

"I decided to fund-raise and sent 40 letters out to local businesses to buy a new fridge and freezer for Sentinel High School," Blakely said. "In addition I wanted to stock the fridge and freezer with fresh produce. My goal was $1,000 and I was able to raise almost $5,000, which was incredible, and I was able to use the money in various ways which was very exciting."

Governor Bullock praised Blakely for tackling what he called 'a solvable problem', childhood hunger.

"We deal with so many complex issues each and every day, be it in Helena or throughout our state," Bullock said. "But, ending childhood hunger, that's something we should be able to do, just figure out ways to feed kids and to plant gardens and provide the resources and infrastructure that Emma has dome here at Sentinel."

photo by Peter Christian

Sentinel Principal Ted Fuller praised Blakely's efforts in conjunction with the Missoula Food Bank.

"Through the Kid's Table and our partnership with the Missoula Food Bank, which we wouldn't be able to do had she not raised this money," Fuller said. "Now, we have extra food, and so the leftovers are here in this room and students can come and get a snack, a little bit of extra lunch if they need it, and then food to go home as they need it."

Blakely showed Governor and Mrs. Bullock the new refrigerator and freezer, and then took them on a tour of the garden growing outside the walls of Sentinel High School.

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