Grandma Helps Her Grandson Fight Hunger in Florida

Joshua’s Heart Foundation started because a four-year-old boy received $20 from his grandmother, Zula (Peggy) Graham. Peggy told her grandson he could spend the money as he liked, on himself. However, while the family was driving to church that same day, Joshua saw an unhoused man and decided to give the money to him after his mother read him the sign held by the man. On the sign, the man had written “I will work for food.” Joshua told his mother he wanted to give the man his $20, but his mother suggested he give the man $1 instead, fearing that the man would spend it on drugs or alcohol. Joshua insisted he wanted to give the man the entire $20. Eventually he won out and gave the man the $20.

Even as a four-year-old, Joshua recognized that hunger was a problem and wanted at that moment to make a difference. After leaving church and going home, he told his aunts that he gave the hungry man his $20. He begged his two aunts and mother to help him feed folks on the street.

Volunteer organizations usually don’t accept four-year-olds, but Joshua was undeterred. Peggy volunteered her kitchen to prepare meals for unhoused individuals. She, along with Joshua’s mom and aunts, prepared complete meals for these people. After two years of cooking for the unhoused in Peggy’s kitchen, Joshua started his own hunger-relief organization called Joshua’s Heart Foundation, which has no age restrictions for volunteers. The foundation is primarily a youth-led organization and relies on youth volunteers, but there is also a lot of community engagement. Peggy continues to be an integral part of the efforts to end hunger, even in her 70s. She is always at the pantry except on weekends.

In addition to providing food and other necessities, Joshua’s Heart Foundation also educates community members on how to end poverty and hunger and how to prepare healthy meals. To date, the foundation has served more than half a million individuals.

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