Jesuit student turns class project into $10,000 fundraiser to help El Salvador community farm year-round

When Max Jeffrey, a rising senior at Jesuit High School, was instructed to look up the Florida Youth Institute World Food Prize Global Challenge for a school assignment he turned it into more than just homework.

"I got started on El Salvador through the Florida Youth Institute. I had to do the world food prize essay to apply," he recalled. "I wrote my essay on El Salvador, and its struggle with food security and crime."

Jeffrey looked up a rural town in El Salvador to get specifics on their food needs and the issues that complicate farming.

"Writing a paper is one thing, but it doesn't make much of a difference if you just move on from that," he said.

Jesuit's mission statement burned in his heart.

"The motto is men for others... I wanted to actually do what I thought would help the people," he explained.

The journey started here in Florida but reached deep into Central America.

"So I got involved with ‘Food for the Poor’," he said.

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With their help and direction, he found the Los Naranjos community in El Salvador.

"I managed to get an interview with a family in El Salvador," he shared. "The family, having that interview from the family, is probably what set me off…It's difficult to hear the struggles going on in their life. The problem they face right now is the weather is unpredictable."

Jeffrey sought answers to how to help answer maybe just one part of the problem.

"We're raising $10,000 to help build greenhouses that are actually made from bamboo as the stakes," he stated.

The greenhouses would allow warmer temperatures in the cool mountainous region of Los Naranjos. They would offer more protection from the weather and from pests that currently claim up to 60% of the local crops.

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In addition to having the greenhouse as shelter, the fundraiser will provide the currency to build a water tank irrigation system for the greenhouse as well.

"It's going to make a huge difference in the lives of these people," he said. "With these greenhouses, they're going to be able to farm year-round."

In addition to the greenhouses and irrigation systems, the money will provide anti-viral mesh to keep pests and disease-carrying vermin out.

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It's one step towards making a change in a community that's more than 2,700 miles away.

"I'm fortunate enough to have a family that's raised me to be empathetic for others," shared Jeffrey.

And no one wants to see others go hungry.

"A lot of it is about food insecurity," shared Jeffrey. "That's what really inspired me to do this fundraiser."

LINK: Learn more about the Max Jeffrey fundraiser here

LINK: Click here to learn more about ‘Food for the Poor,’ which is separate from the Max Jeffrey fundraiser. 

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