Pella native earns prestigious humanitarian recognition

Maria Rose Belding

Pella native Maria Rose Belding was recently honored with The George H.W. Bush Points of Light award on behalf of George H.W. Bush’s legacy foundation.

Belding, a Pella Community High School graduate, received the award during the Points of Light celebratory gala on Thursday, Sept. 26.

As the co-founder and executive director at the MEANS Database, a nonprofit tech company, Belding has rerouted more than 2.2 million pounds of food to communities in need across the United States. Belding was inspired to create the non-profit tech company from her experiences as a food pantry volunteer, which helps feed communities in need rather than throwing excess food in the trash.

Belding’s dedication to fighting food insecurity has earned her recognition from L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth, Starbucks Upstanders, and CNN Heroes, among others. She has also spoken on poverty, food insecurity and responsible entrepreneurship in 25 states and the Obama White House.

The George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards lift up and identify outstanding examples of individuals advancing solutions to societal problems around the globe while exemplifying the traits of President George H.W. Bush: optimism, empathy, respect, integrity, conviction in the face of opposition and belief in the power of the human spirit to create positive change.

Emily Hawk can be reached at or by calling the newsroom at 641-628-3882.

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