by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

A Heart for Helping

volunteer_martin1Camryn Martin first heard about the food pantry for students from a program at Madison Middle School. With the help of her family and Vista Teen Outreach (VTO), Camryn established a food pantry at her school, Vista Magnet Middle School. Today, Camryn ensures the food pantry stays stocked and students do not go hungry.

“If a student needs food to eat at home, they can go to our school’s counseling office, and they will help them get food,” explained Camryn. Students remain anonymous and are allowed to restock as often as necessary. All the donated supplies for the food pantry at the middle school come from Vista Teen Outreach, the nonprofit organization that serves 14 schools to coordinate the supply and delivery of the food and personal hygiene items.

“I originally started the pantry to complete my Girl Scout Silver Award,” Camryn said. “Along the way, I learned that not all kids have access to food at home.” A Girl Scout since the age of four, Camryn earned her Silver Award in 2016 and has now set the goal of achieving the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts.

Name: Camryn Martin
Community: Vista
Family: Parents – Brian and Becky Martin; Older sister – Madison
Hobbies: Dance and camping


The North County Philanthropy Council recently honored Camryn with the 2016 Volunteer of the Year award. “I am very excited and honored to be able to get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she acknowledged. “It’s been rewarding to realize I’ve helped kids and helped recruit others to help in the community too.”

Camryn encouraged anyone who would like to get involved. “They can donate items at any VTO food drive or at one of the local businesses who have VTO collection bins.” Cash donations and new volunteers are always welcome, too.

“I have been running the pantry for just over two years,” Camryn shared. “I am enjoying my volunteer work and would love to continue volunteering.” She is also involved with the BEWISE program, Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering, and the Associate Student Body. Long term, Camryn is looking forward to college and medical school to become an anesthesiologist.

Group: Vista Teen Outreach
Mission: With over 1,800 students in the Vista Unified School District who are hungry, homeless, or both, VTO provides easy access on campus food pantries filled with food and hygiene kits to any student in need.