September 11, 2010 | By Sergy Odiduro, Forum Publishing Group
A boy’s desire to help the needy has led to an effort that helped fellow students start the school year out right. Joshua Williams, the 9-year-old president of Joshua’s Heart Foundation, recently helped distribute more than 80 backpacks filled with school supplies at the Hallandale Beach Teen Center. Joshua said the giveaway is aimed at making a difference for students in need. “We wanted to help them because [their families] don’t have sufficient money to get supplies,” he said.The event was made possible through a partnership with the Woman2Woman Breast Cancer Foundation and St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Miami. “We have a lot of kids that go without,” said Jacqueline Gray, founder of Woman2Woman and a former Broward County school teacher. “… We used to notice kids that didn’t have uniforms and supplies. They would just sit there, and you would know what was going on.”
Gray added that the need for assistance is growing. “A lot of parents can’t afford the necessary resources, and it’s not just the inner-city kids anymore,” she said. “A lot of people are being affected by the economic times.” Joshua has worked since age 5 to help the less fortunate in the community. His desire to give back was sparked after seeing a TV ad to sponsor a child in need. This most recent giveaway followed a food distribution event where he teamed with St. John’s Bishop James Dean Adams to feed more than 200 people in Miami’s Overtown community. Adams said he quickly agreed to help the youngster with the backpack giveaway.
“He’s kind of irresistible. He is very determined, and he is on a mission,” Adams said. “Who’s going to say no to a 9-year-old kid? So I said to myself, why break up the partnership? Let’s keep the ball rolling.”
Adams said reaching out to youngsters in need is important.
“Our goal is to help families and to help every child and to give them the best chance to succeed,” he said.
Claudia McLean, vice president of Joshua’s Heart and the youngster’s mom, is hoping to continue the effort through a food backpack program. “When students go home on weekends, we don’t want them to worry where they will get their next meal,” McLean said. “We are looking for sponsors in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. This way, they don’t have to wait for their free lunch and breakfast when they return back to school.”
For more information, call 305-788-8295.