Congrats to J. H. Everett for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!
Nominating Organization: Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County
Honoree Category: Human & Community
Why Nominated: J.H. Everett is a one-of-a-kind volunteer. He is an incredibly talented visual storyteller, writer, and creativity expert. Ev was introduced to the Food Bank by donor and volunteer, Michelle Janavs. Michelle has been a member of one of the Food Bank’s top fundraising auxiliary groups, the Harvesters for several years. One day, Michelle brought her nine year-old daughter, Isabel for a tour of the Food Bank’s 121,000 sq. ft. facility in Irvine. Isabel was immediately inspired by the Food Bank’s mission of eliminating hunger in Orange County. She went home and told her mom she wanted to write a book, publish it, and have the proceeds go to the Food Bank to help feed hungry kids. When she was finished writing it, the illustrator, J.H. Everett, offered to bring the story to life with his drawings and the book Izzy and the Candy Palace came into being.
Around this time, the Food Bank was looking to expand its volunteer program to include children and their families. The goal was to create a well-protected area inside the warehouse where children could help pack nutritious food for other children and their families in need. Once the area was designated, all of the elements came together – the space, the book, and the very creative illustrator, J. H. Everett who had a vision for decorating it with illustrations inspired by the book that Isabel and he had collaborated on.
In March 2013, Izzy’s Corner was completed. Izzy’s Corner at Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is unlike any other kid’s volunteer experience in Orange County. From the colorful, cartoon town enlivening the warehouse walls, to the kid-sized Candy Palace, children are entranced by the surroundings and excited to help the Food Bank by packing healthful, nutritious, kid-friendly food that will later be distributed to children in need through our Kids Cafe and BackPack Programs.
The Food Bank is very excited by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm that has been generated by the creation of Izzy’s Corner. Critical donations of time and materials came from Ev who took an empty, non-descript space and created something magical. He enlisted Saddleback College Art Department Head Karen McNulty and her students who painted his illustrations on the walls.
It has been two years since Izzy and the Candy Palace has been on sale. Through the Candy Palace Program (publisher of Izzy and the Candy Palace), more than $170,000 has been donated to the Food Bank. In 2012, an in-school contest by the Candy Palace Program selected a second book, Red Rockers Hairy Day. It was written by three eighth-grade students, Laurel Smith, Katie Weaver and Alexandra Zalewski, and illustrated by J.H. Everett to be published. The proceeds from this book are also helping to feed hungry kids through our Kids Cafe and BackPack Programs.
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