A trip to Guatemala when Randy Perez-Lopez was ten years old stuck with him. It was the first time he had ever visited his grandparents in person. And it was his first time visiting the country where both his mom and his dad grew up.
Randy’s parents had moved to the United States before he was born. They wanted to give their future children a better life.
But it was the trip to Guatemala, and its countryside and farmland, that inspired Randy’s artwork for the Miracle-Gro GroMoreGood Harvest Donation Bag contest four years later.
“When I went to Guatemala, I thought the landscape was so beautiful. I come from a big family of farmers over there. And I wanted to draw a picture of it.”
Randy’s drawing was selected out of a group of youth entries from Tapestry Public Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia, to be featured on the GroMoreGood Harvest Donation Bag, which is now available for sale all across the country. Miracle-Gro teamed up with No Kid Hungry to create the bag as a way to fight the hunger facing millions of children this year. The harvest bag encourages gardeners to collect their extra produce and donate it.
Randy’s artwork is featured on the limited-edition bag and a portion of the bag proceeds go to No Kid Hungry. In fact, each bag purchased equals up to 20 meals for hungry children.*
“I see hungry people outside, and it makes me sad,” says Randy. “I wanted to do something to help. I’ve always liked to draw. So I thought I could draw a picture and do something good for other people.”
The fact that Randy is a thriving 14-year old artist today is amazing in itself. Randy’s mom says he is truly a miracle baby. Born premature at just six months old, doctors weren’t sure how Randy would thrive.
“Doctors had no expectations for Randy because he was so premature,” says his mom. “We are very proud of Randy today and thankful for Tapestry school because of the special help they give him.”
Like Randy, Tapestry Public Charter School is truly one of a kind. It offers an inclusive, individualized learning environment for each of its students, approximately 50% of which are neurotypical and 50% of which are on the autism spectrum.
“Our model is simple,” says Kaththryn Clements, special education teacher at Tapestry. “We value all of our students for their uniqueness and believe that each one deserves to feel included in all aspects of the learning process.” This includes a fully inclusive academic model so that all students learn side-by-side in the same classroom, regardless of ability.
We first partnered with Tapestry back in 2019, when Miracle-Gro provided a set of indoor gardens to the school. Teachers and students used the gardens to supplement science learning and produce healthy salads and snacks for kids. The donation was part of our GroMoreGood commitment to connect 10 million children to the benefits of gardening and outdoor play by 2023.
The relationship has blossomed since then. And today, we’re so proud to support Randy and his dream of becoming an artist.
“When I grow up, I want to be an actor or an artist,” says Randy. “But probably an artist. I won this contest, so I think I can do it.”
*$1 can provide up to 10 meals. Meal equivalency varies during COVID-19 relief. Learn more at nokidhungry.org/onedollar. Miracle-Gro will donate $2 from each tote bag purchased on MiracleGro.com through September 30, 2021.