Piney Grove Middle School student wants to end child hunger

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To see what Devon Hirsch is up to with his fundraising efforts to fight child hunger, visit givinggrub.org.

SOUTH FORSYTH — After learning about the free and reduced meal program while in elementary school, Devon Hirsch asked his father how some of his Midway classmates were able to eat during the summer and on weekends.

That observation and questioning that may not usually come from a fifth-grader was the birth of a fundraising campaign that has since raised almost $6,500 to fight child hunger.

“He came home having to do a charity project, and we said do something you understand, that makes sense to you and that you care about,” Devon’s father, Charles Hirsch, said. “We started doing research and he found out that of the kids who are eligible for those summers programs, only about 14-15 percent ever use them. Whether they’re embarrassed or they can’t get transportation, etc.”

Hirsch’s campaign has continued beyond his school project.

He works through four outlets: asking for donations on social media and his website, givinggrub.org; partnering with Tin Drum AsiaCafe in The Collection at Forsyth to donate some of their proceeds; tabling in front of restaurants like Costa Vida and BB’s Bagels; and selling wrist bands.

He fundraises under the umbrella of No Kid Hungry, a national organization that also fights child hunger.

“The goal at the time was to raise $1,000 because that’s 10,000 meals,” Charles Hirsch said. “He did that quickly through social media. So we made the wrist bands and found different ways to work up funds. Since then he has kept setting goals – at $2,500, then $5,000, and now $7,000. And he kept breaking them.”

The Piney Grove Middle School student got the community service bug from his older sister, Kelsey.

Now a junior at South Forsyth High School, she needed to do a project for her bat mitzvah. So at 12 years old and living with her family in Pennsylvania as the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal unfolded, she decided to raise money in support for victims of sexual violence.

Her father said she has since raised about $26,000 over the years through Bands4Rainn.org.

“He sees [her efforts] as, ‘I can do these things, too,’” their father said.

The young Hirsch said he wants to become a chef and attend the culinary program at South when he gets into high school.

“It’s fun to cook because you get to be creative on what you do,” he said.

His father said the inspiration came after watching the movie “Chef,” a movie about a man starting a food truck starring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman and Scarlett Johansson.

“He really loved the idea of the dad and the son working together on the Panini press. Now he owns a Panini press,” his father said. “Then he started watching Master Chef Junior and other kid cook shows. He has all the desire in the world to do that, just not the [instruction] yet. Until then, he still wants to help with Giving Grub.”

Until then, the seventh grader has set his next goal at $10,000.