Each year, many of the police offers and fire fighters who protect our communities, sacrifice their holiday time with their families by working on Christmas Day. Last year, high school student Caleb VanHillo made the holidays a little merrier for these first responders with his Meals for Shields Project.


VanHillo, currently a senior at Monty Tech, formed Meals for Shields with two other students as part of United Way Youth Venture. The students raised money to purchase hams and pies and spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day delivering them to every police station and firehouse in the 18 towns and cities in the Monty Tech district.


In recognition of his work with Meal for Shields as well as his participation in two additional Youth Venture projects, VanHillo was recently awarded one of three Youth Venture Scholarship for 2018-19. Youth Venture program organizers were particularly impressed that VanHillo showed great dedication in raising funds to purchase holiday meals in a short amount of time; just weeks before Christmas Day.


United Way Youth Venture Director Lauren Mountain says Van Hillo’s dedication to helping his community is inspiring, stating, “Caleb was one of the first students I worked with when I started this role. He will always stand out to me as an extraordinary leader and as a very ambitious and community–minded young man.”


 VanHillo will be attending UMass Lowell in the fall majoring in biomedical engineering.