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Charlotte teenager went from homelessness to becoming a Disney Dreamer

Za’Nia Stinson spent the first five years of her life struggling with homelessness. At times, she lived in a women and children’s shelter in Charlotte with her grandmother. That’s until her “forever family” came into the picture. 

Stinson said that although she began living with them at 5 years old, she wasn’t officially adopted until 2019. She quickly adjusted to her new surroundings, parents and sister — almost forgetting the previous struggles she experienced as a young child.

That was until a grocery trip to their local Food Lion. “I kind of forgot about being in the shelter until that moment — I saw kids that didn’t have food, so I really wanted to help more and give back to the community because I used to be in that situation,” Stinson recalled. 

Stinson and her mother decided to start an organization called Z Feeds Angel Food Project. They create “Go-Go Bags” full of food and toiletries and deliver them to the women & children’s shelter where Stinson used to live. She also gives them to homeless people she sees, as well as a hotel near her church that houses some homeless people. 

“I know how it felt to not have food or be able to go get food. So I really have empathy for those people,” Stinson said.

Her passion for helping people made her stand out in her application to the Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA). “When I found out I got in, it was a really exciting day. I ran upstairs to call my sister. She was also in DDA back in 2009, so I was excited to be like her,” Stinson said. 

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