I Have a Dream
By: Joshua Williams, Founder of Joshua’s Heart Foundation
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 have 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.
Here is one of my favorite Quotes “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~ Edward Everett Hale.
I decided to start my foundation when I was almost five years old. This all came about because of a single twenty dollar bill. 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 with whatever I wanted. In the process of going 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. I knew then, that this is what I had to do in life. Then on another day I was watching television and there was an infomercial about Feed The Children Foundation. That’s when I had the vision of exactly what I needed to do in life. I needed to help people. Now I had to answer the how; How could I help?….. I thought for a while, then it came to me. I had to help by giving food, the one basic necessity of life. I told my two aunts about my idea of helping the needy; although they came on board to help, they kind of ignored me so I had to fire them. Then I went to my mom to help, she didn’t at first but with constant nagging she ultimately agreed. She also didn’t take me seriously until she realized that I was very serious about my vision.
After realizing I was really serious about my vision, she agreed to help. Then all my family started to help and contribute. At first we were giving hot food that we cooked to the homeless every Saturday, I also came up with the idea of a food distribution, where we would have families, who are less fortunate, come by and get a bag full with essential foods; Simple right? So we started, our first distribution was a big accomplishment. We helped 300 families who left with a bag full of a week’s worth of groceries. We assisted the needy for two years then we became a foundation, I called it Joshua’s Heart Foundation. Why, because I felt like I was putting my heart into my mission. Currently we help young people every Friday in a food backpack program, seven months of the year we provide groceries in a large food distribution and quarterly with a cooking demonstration to show families how to prepare easy, tasty and nutritious meals. We feed 20-60 youths every Friday and an average of 150 families per month.
We started a Junior Advisory Board (JAB) where kids and teens between the ages of 6 and 18 talk about ideas, programs and events for the foundation to do. We have elves which are young people who assist in spreading the mission of the foundation and helping us to stomp out hunger.
I wish I could help everyone, I wish I was able to provide jobs and food for everyone. It’s extremely sad to know that there are hungry people in the world. We waste so much food, if we can find a way to get food to all those who are in need, we can put an end to this. It’s possible you know. It is! It’s really sad to see hungry children. There should be no hungry children. Have you been to a food distribution event or a food pantry and see elders receiving food because their monthly check is not enough to pay their expenses?
Now let me tell you how we as a community can help solve, if not decrease hunger in the US and the world. First off we have to all work together and be on the same page. IF we do not work together then we can never completely eradicate hunger. When we work separately, we sometimes fight for the same funding and opportunities, or not help as many as we can. Second, we ALL need to contribute. I know there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, but people waste food. I am also guilty, because sometimes my mom gives me too much to eat, and I believe that if we cut down on how much food we eat and purchase and then only eat or prepare the amount we need, there will be a lot less waste.
I also believe that we have classes about hunger, explaining what hunger really is and what we can do about it. Individuals are not knowledgeable enough and sometimes believe that hunger is the individual’s fault. Many people are not aware that hunger is right here in their own community. Sometimes hunger can come about because of bad choices we’ve made, but then again we have all made bad choices at sometime in our life. Others have said to me I believe in teaching how to fish and not giving a man the fish. I completely agree and understand but the same rule doesn’t always apply.
Did you know that in 2008, 32 million Americans were on food stamps and now those number exceed 47 million? In New York alone 1.5 million people rely on organizations that are providing food. These charities, due to demand rely on the sympathy of lucrative corporations. The average low income wage is about $8 and this is not a living wage they cannot support themselves fully even if they are working 40 hours per week (minimum wage is $7.79). McDonald’s did a study to help their workers with budgeting and guess what is showed, it showed even with a second job it was IMPOSSIBLE for the person making $8 average per hour to make ends meet. (source the guardian.com) If prices keep increasing and wages remain the same then we will always have individuals and families depending on charities like Joshua’s Heart.
Some of these families are some of the ones we cannot teach how to fish because not everyone will be a doctor. If everyone went to school to study to be a doctor then there would be no one to work in the hotels, no one to fix our cars or no one to sell computers. With that said, we still need to invest in education and teach our youth how to manage their money in the future and teach them to invest in things that will be beneficial to the mind and soul versus things that are not substantial, but that is another topic to write about. Once we learn early it will make a big difference later in life.
I believe we can make this happen in my lifetime. I am calling on all young people to help me to fight hunger. Help me to create awareness. Together we can achieve the impossible. We want the adults to listen to us and help to guide us. Giving your time and money is happiness because over time you will see who you are helping and the impact you had. This leads to happiness. In my organization we encourage people not to only donate but to come out and help. We want your donation and we want your time. If the donor sees what is being done they will be challenged to do more or to continue to do more. I think they work together. Some people are not able to donate time but can donate money.
As MLK once said “I Have a Dream” I too have a dream, I have a dream that one day there will be no more hungry children, I have a dream that if someone is hungry they will know where to go, I have a dream that one day there will be “open Cafeterias” everywhere where poor families can donate what they can or volunteer if they cannot and be able to feed their families when needed. I have a dream that one day all youths will be givers and helpful to each other, I have a dream that together we can eradicate worldwide hunger, I have a dream that JHF will inspire youths all over the world to start making a difference. I have a dream that everyone will find their purpose in life.