Joshua Williams is being honored as a Champion of Change for strengthening food security.
I would like to thank the White House for giving me this prestigious award and the chance to let everyone be more aware about hunger since it is such a big deal in the world. We as a country need to help and support each other. My mission is not only to help and make a difference, but more importantly to make people aware of what hunger and poverty is.
I started my foundation when I was almost five years old. My story starts when I was on my way to church on a Sunday morning. When I was about to leave, my amazing grandmother gave me twenty dollars to do whatever I wanted with it. On the way to church, I was thinking about all the possible things I could buy with the money. But when we were stopped at a red light, that was the moment when I saw the homeless, hungry man who changed my life forever. I saw him and I knew I had to give him my twenty dollars. Not only was it for a good cause, but it would help him in whatever way it could.
Then on another day, I was watching television and there was a commercial about the Feed the Children Foundation. That’s when I had the vision of what exactly I needed to do in life. I needed to help people. I still had that question of how. How do I help? I thought for a while until it came to me: I had to help by giving food, which is one of the basic necessities of life. I went to my mom to help me and at first she didn't take me seriously until she realized that I was very serious about my vision. If you believe in something or you have a passion about something you must be persistent and you can never give up.
Soon all my family started to help and contribute. At first we were giving hot food that we cooked to the homeless every Saturday. Then I had to think of something bigger, better, and easier. I came up with the idea of a distribution where we have families who are less fortunate get a bag full with essential foods. We helped 300 families who left with a bag full of a week’s food supply. Two years later we became a foundation and we had our largest distribution where we fed 1,000 people and gave them each a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Currently we help youths every Friday in a food backpack program and families every month in a large food distribution and quarterly cooking demonstration to teach families how to cook easy and healthy meals. We feed 20-50 youths every Friday and an average of 150 families per month. We also have a Junior Advisory Board (JAB) where kids and teens between the ages of 11 and 18 talk about ideas and events for the Joshua’s Heart Foundation. We are starting an ambassador program where we have kids or teens in a city start a Joshua’s Heart Foundation chapter in their area.
I believe that everyone has a purpose in life and that it is their choice to follow that purpose. I believe that I not only had a purpose in life, but a vision from God that I needed to help the less fortunate by giving food. If you follow your path it will be a great achievement. The path to your purpose might be hard and rough or it might be easy and smooth. What I do seems natural and right to me. When I help I feel like I am doing something right. I want my foundation to become a worldwide organization and I want to help more people and make people aware that hunger is not only in the United States, but worldwide.
Joshua Williams is a middle school student at Ransom Everglades School in Miami, Florida, and founder of Joshua's Heart Foundation