Special to South Florida Times

joshua-williams-web.jpgFor Joshua Williams, fairy tales are a real inspiration.

In his own storybook, he is a knight on a mission to help create a hunger-free world.

On Saturday, Aug. 14, the 9-year-old will put on his armor to slay the “hunger dragon” in Overtown, where he and relatives will distribute food to those who qualify under the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

“It makes me happy to know that my foundation can help those that are less fortunate. It makes me smile to know I am making a difference,” Joshua said.

Joshua’s effort to create a hunger-free world started when he was 5 years old and he saw a sponsor-a-child television spot. His first attempt at making a difference was to give his $20 allowance to a homeless man.
The idea of an organization that would allow him to continuously help the underprivileged came next. His mom was not exactly warm to the idea at first.

“As a single mother working full-time, in the beginning I thought of an organization as an extra responsibility,” said Claudia McLean. “But all has been life-changing. I have developed more patience and it has been wonderful to assist other families.”

Over four years, the Joshua’s Heart Foundation has provided food and supplies to needy families, the elderly and the sick in South Florida, Jamaica and, most recently, Haiti.

Joshua’s efforts have been recognized with the Miami’s Children Hospital “I Make a Difference Award” and the “City of Miami’s Do The Right Thing Award.”

In February, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist nominated him a Governor’s Point of Light for Black History Month. The award recognizes Floridians who demonstrate exemplary service to the community.

“Joshua has an innate sense of goodness and passion for helping others in his heart.  He is truly making an impact in South Florida,” said a statement from the governor.  “Joshua is proof that, at any age, getting involved in the community and helping others can make a difference.”

For the Overtown event, the foundation partnered with St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church located in the heart of the historic Miami neighborhood. McLean said she expects more than 150 families to attend.

“Joshua is the youngest philanthropist I’ve ever met. He’s powerful and committed to changing the world as we know it,” said St. John’s Senior Pastor, Bishop James Adams.

The Fisher Island Day School student said he spends most of his free time looking for sponsorship and visiting schools to inspire other children to create a truly enchanting world.

Those who join in his fundraising and food distribution magic are granted the title of Joshua’s Elves.

“Nothing makes me happier than helping others feel happy,” he said. “I just want every child to feel as full as I feel.”


WHAT: Joshua’s Heart Foundation Distributes Food in Overtown

WHEN: Noon-2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 14

WHERE: St. John Institutional Missionary Baptist Church, 1328 NW Third Ave., Miami.

COST: Free

INFO: To learn more about Joshua’s Heart Foundation visit www.joshuasheart.org.