More than 16 million children in the U.S. live in households that struggle to put food on the table. Devon Hirsch, an 11-year old boy from Atlanta, Ga., is stepping up in a big way to make this a thing of the past. Founder of Giving Grub, his own fundraising website, Devon has inspired many to learn more about, and donate to, Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign ending childhood hunger in America.
Share Our Strength has been connecting children to healthy foods since its inception in 1984. CEO Billy Shore founded the organization with his sister, Debbie, with the notion that everyone has strength to share in the fight against hunger and poverty. Devon shares his strength on a daily basis and is a living example of kids helping kids—a trend that entrenched with the millennial generation before him and one that now seems part of his generation’s DNA.
Devon was first introduced to No Kid Hungry when he recognized a need for change at his own middle school. “While nationwide approximately 20 percent of kids deal with hunger, in Georgia, it’s closer to 28 percent,” he says. “I see kids at my school who get assistance, and I wondered how they got food during the summer.” With some research and assistance from his dad, Charles, he discovered that only 14 percent of kids who qualify actually take advantage of the summer meal programs. “I want to help that number grow,” Devon says.
Since beginning his efforts in June 2014, Devon has raised more than $2,000 for No Kid Hungry through his online fundraising and social media promotion. With each contribution of $3 or more, donors receive their own “Giving Grub” wristband to help spread awareness. “The wristbands are a fun way to show people that you support both No Kid Hungry and that you’re part of TeamGG,” he explains. Devon has reset his fundraising goals a couple of times, as he surpassed his first goal of $1,000 and now hopes to reach $2,500 by the end of October—and $5,000 by year-end.
As for the future, Devon hopes to continue this cause for as long as he can. “This is a fight I plan to be a part of at least through high school,” he said. “If childhood hunger is still an issue at that point, Giving Grub will go to college with me.”
The passion of Devon Hirsch is living proof that kids of any age can make an impact, small or large. But it doesn’t happen passively. “You need to be touching people daily and it’s important to have a great support system.” In addition to the support he’s received from the local community and Share Our Strength, Devon also has the support of his parents and his sister. When asked who inspired him to give back, Devon’s answer was, “My sister Kelsey. She inspired me to work hard and believe in my ability to make a difference.”
Devon’s father, Charles, explains, “At the age of 12, Kelsey started her own organization called Bands4RAINN, which supports RAINN, a nonprofit created 20 years ago to help victims of sexual violence and abuse. She sold wristbands called ‘Bands4RAINN’ and has raised more than $26,000 over the last 2-and-a-half years.”
With the bar set high by his older sister, there’s not much doubt that Devon will reach his 2014 fundraising goal. “You’re never too young or too small to make a difference,” Devon says. “It only takes a small ripple to create a wave.”
Contributing Writer: Marisa Farris