When it comes to Citizen Kids, ingenuity and generosity abhor a vacuum. These world-changing kids see a problem, and instantly think of a way to address it.
Today’s Citizen Kid video spotlights Joshua, the founder of Joshua’s Heart, an organization that donates food to children in need. Joshua tells the story of how he first came up with the idea to help.”One day I was going to church–I was about four and a half–and we stopped at a red light. I saw a homeless man, and I saw on the sign ‘need food.'” That drive to church left a last impression on young Joshua, and was all it took to help Josh want to help.
From that single incident–something many of us experience every day to and from work–Josh, still a very young child, was driven to do something about what he saw. By age five, he founded Joshua’s Heart (with a little help from some grownups, of course), with a goal to eliminate hunger in his community and raise awareness of the growing number of Americans struggling with hunger each day.
According to the young philanthropist, now all of 13 years old, hunger isn’t something that is readily seen, especially by children. “In America, kids aren’t shown that people out there are hungry. It was really revealing to me that people out there need help.” In fact one in six Americans are suffering from an invisible problem–hunger–something many adults overlook, but a kid like Josh was able to see.
Since that moment of enlightenment, Joshua’s foundation has delivered over 400,000 pounds of food to those in need. Joshua’s Heart not only gathers donations to distribute to food kitchens, but also created a backpack program that provides weekend lunches to children who normally receive their lunch from school lunch programs.
One theme we have consistently seen in the efforts of each Citizen Kid is that once these individuals were presented with a problem or witnessed others in need, they were immediately eager to help, no questions asked. Perhaps it’s just the earnest observation skills of a child, or their fresh perspective that has yet to be clouded with the why not’s and logistics that go into doing something like beginning a foundation, but when it comes to these young do-ers, seeing is all the catalyst necessary to start their wheels turning.
According to Joshua, all it took was some simple word of mouth among his friends to help his program expand, further proof that young people are already equipped with what they need to be moved to help–compassion, empathy, and heart. While many of us are passing these problems by or are perhaps too busy to notice them, Citizen Kids like Joshua are taking steps to face problems like hunger head-on.
A major issue that Joshua is currently trying to shine a light on is the shortage of milk donated to food bank programs like Joshua’s Heart, and the difference that Milk can make in the day of a hungry child. Starting the day off with a serving of milk can provide a child with the protein, vitamins, and nutrients necessary to keep them going throughout the day. Milk is one of the few foods that naturally packs 8 grams of high-quality protein in every 8 ounces, along with 9 essential vitamins and minerals, yet it is frequently passed over by those making crucial donations to Josh’s foundation.
Learn more about Josh’s programs to fight hunger at Joshua’s Heart website. You can make help him fight hunger, and provide milk to families in your community with help from The Great American Milk Drive and Feeding America.