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Local fifth-grader earns national recognition for fighting childhood hunger

Photo Source: Live 5 News Photo Source: Live 5 News
Photo Source: Live 5 News Photo Source: Live 5 News
NORTH CHARLESTON - (WCSC) -

Kids are helping kids fight hunger in our community, and a fifth-grader is getting national recognition for a non-profit he started with his little brothers.

I Heart Hungry Kids is helping thousands of kids in the Lowcountry at risk of hunger.  Fifth-grader Jackson Silverman co-founded the organization three years ago along with his two younger brothers Gabe and Riley.

"It was amazing and it was really great that it was our third birthday, and we've been going for so long," says Jackson.  "Kids helping kids, what's not to like."

So far the organization has packed more than 21,000 bags of food for Lowcountry kids. The kids they help take the food home on weekends when they're not able to get a school lunch.  It's in partnership with Backpack Buddies at the Lowcountry Food Bank.

"Kids don't have a lot of choice about hunger, kids can't change their lives all by themselves," Jackson said in his opening speech.

About 150 kids came out to volunteer, all made possible by the nonprofit. Before I Heart Hungry Kids, children below the age of 14 could not volunteer at the Food Bank. Kids can choose their job on the line, from setting up the food bins to filling up bags. 

"This is all about kid power today," he said.

Mayor John Tecklenburg announced April 17 as Jackson Silverman day for his efforts to fight hunger. It's something Jackson said he didn't know was going to happen. 

During the packing process Jackson helps other by keeping the flow, while third-graders Gabe and Riley pack down the boxes.

They say that's the fun part, but helping others is even better.

"I couldn't have felt better," Riley said.  

Gabe agrees and said, "this will be one of the best moments of my life."

Jackson has advice for other kids that want to make a difference in their community. 

"I was scared when I started but no matter what, just do it," he said. "Whatever your cause is, think of them and then not getting it and you standing up and fighting for them."

Sunday was the last packing party for the school year. This year Jackson is the youngest national winner to receive the Stephen J. Brady Stop Hunger Scholarship through the Sodexo Foundation.

For more information: http://www.ihearthungrykids.org/

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