Rivera Fights to “Starve Out Hunger”


Katie Ledford

Senior Michael Rivera works with JEE Foods while on the cross country bus.

Katie Ledford, Staff Writer and Editor

Senior Michael Rivera is known for many things: He’s the treasurer of NHS, a cross country runner, and a strong student; and recently, he’s getting a lot of attention for his role in JEE Foods.

Rivera is the CEO of the nonprofit organization JEE Foods. “JEE Foods started in November 2017 when Mr. O’Neill’s IT classes were asked to take part in the Global Classroom Steam Challenge…” said Rivera.

On jeefoods.com, Rivera stated “My team started JEE Foods out of a desire to help those who needed it most. We strive each day to aid and empower those without the means to do it themselves. We wholeheartedly believe in helping those in need, supporting our community, and giving back.”

According to jeefoods.com, JEE stands for the “main factors influencing poverty” which are jobs, education, and economy. The name JEE Foods encompasses the organization’s vision to “Starve Out Hunger,” and Rivera makes sure that vision is carried out.

Rivera is constantly busy, and much of what fills his schedule is regarding the success of JEE Foods.

Rivera stated, “I am the CEO of Jee Foods. It’s my responsibility to lead the team and ensure the organization is meeting its goals, staying on pace for expectations, and accomplishing our mission statement of Starving Out Hunger.”

2018 Graduate Olivia Colyer, Head of Human Resources at JEE Foods, stated, “Michael contributes to the success of JEE Foods by having creative and innovative ideas. He will not stop working until hunger is solved. Without his passion and motivation, JEE Foods would not be as successful as it currently is.”

Along with the weighty title of CEO comes many responsibilities which aren’t well known to the public.

“I am responsible for organizing meetings, agenda creation, third party communications, and general company oversight. It’s my job to make sure the ship is sailing and when it slows, speed it back up,” said Rivera.

Rivera has learned a lot from his involvement and role in JEE Foods.

“I’ve learned two irreplaceable lessons from my work with JEE Foods. Those are, the value of hard work and dedication, and the impact an amazing community can have on a group. We all devote thousands of hours over the course of a year to this company and to see the changes we are making and the business advances we are establishing is absolutely incredible,” Rivera stated.

Colyer said, “As a high school student, Michael holds many responsibilities such as going to class, playing sports, holding many part time jobs, making time for family/friends, and running a nonprofit business. He has become very good at picking the right people to help him with running the business and has learned the importance of delegation.”

Not only has Rivera learned a lot himself through his position of CEO, but he has taught the people around him lessons from his strong leadership. He proves to be a role model to many.

Colyer said, “He has showed me it is possible for the youth to make a difference. All it takes is some hard work and dedication. I am honored to have known Michael these past few months and I can’t wait to see what his future holds.”

If you want to support Rivera and JEE Foods, visit to their coffee bar, The Maroon Mocha, which is opening in the mornings before RAMbell. The coffee bar will be in the cafeteria’s concession stand beginning on Sept. 10. Another way to support them is to visit jeefoods.com and make a donation.