Three Teens Raise Money, Receive Presidential Recognition for their work with Joshua’s Heart Foundation
Charlotte Krass, Julia Krass and Sydney Bianco raise more than $25,000 to purchase a refrigerated van delivering fresh food to those in need.
Three youth leaders who volunteer for Joshua’s Heart Foundation are proof that philanthropy and positive change can come about no matter what your age or stage in life. The three teenagers raised enough money — more than $25,000 — to purchase a refrigerated van for the organization, which delivers fresh food to those in need. High schoolers Charlotte Krass and twin sister Julia Krass along with their friend Sydney Bianco teamed up to help raise funds through grass roots efforts and ended up exceeding everyone’s expectations for what was possible.
“I have known Charlotte and Julia since they were in elementary school when they heard Joshua speak at an event and decided they wanted to help those in need,” explains Claudia McLean with Joshua’s Heart Foundation. “They started a project called I Love Art and would provide art supplies to kids in need. They would also volunteer at different events to help the needy, and later on they joined the Junior Advisory Board (JAB) at Joshua’s Heart. Sydney learned about JAB via the twins and became a JAB member within the last year. She joined the twins in their fundraising efforts.”
Joshua’s Heart has been helping South Florida, the Caribbean and the world fight hunger and poverty for nearly 18 years. Started by its namesake founder Joshua Williams who created the initiative when he was a preschooler, the youth-focused organization manages a food distribution pantry located in South Florida. In conjunction with the pantry, JHF also offers a robust after-school program for local youth called the Junior Advisory Board (JAB). JAB enables students from 6-12 grade to learn practical skills and gain real-life experience through closely working with the foundation. The Krass twins have been volunteering with Joshua’s Heart since they were six years old.
“Charlotte, Julia, and I wanted to do a project that would actually make a difference,” explains Bianco. “We know how hard it is to deliver healthy food without a refrigerator and knew that Joshua’s Heart needed a refrigerated food truck.” She explains that at first the teens tried writing letters to companies and big brands, hoping they would help with the efforts. “It was hard because we reached out to so many companies and organizations and we did not hear back from many, she says. “So it was a little disappointing when that would happen but the most important lesson is to always stay positive.” Eventually, the girls raised money through selling bracelets that say “stomp out hunger” which is the slogan for Joshua’s Heart, to collecting funds from family members and friends, and soliciting corporate donors, such as Milan Supermarkets.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE PIECE ON LOCAL 10
“We were humbled to be an integral part of this major milestone for Joshua’s Heart,” says Charlotte Krass, with Julia Krass adding, “Having a refrigerated van is a gamechanger when transporting perishable items. We are so glad we’re a part of this effort and look forward to seeing the difference it makes for the movement,”
“The most rewarding feeling was definitely getting to see the refrigerated food truck in person,” says Bianco. “It is such a great feeling knowing that all of our hard work is actually going to make a difference in the community.”
Joshua’s Heart Foundation has focused on reducing the impact of hunger and poverty on our communities since 2005. To date, the organization has worked with national brands like Walmart, PepsiCo, Milan Supermarket & Whole Foods to give out over 6,000,000 pounds of food, serving over 5 million meals to over 600,000 individuals and distributing over 200,000 toys. The organization, which includes a leadership program, has impacted over 60,000 youth.
The truck has helped the organization further their mission, says McLean. Previously, the organization had been renting one at a cost of $450 a day. “It’s been a blessing and it will forever impact the community,” she explains. “This vehicle is used to assist us in picking up perishable items and keeping it safe. We also use it for mobile events to transport food to different locations. No need for us to rent a truck anymore, which was getting costly. We are able to help the entire community long-term.”
While receiving the truck has been a wonderful development, McLean is now focusing efforts on supporting the new initiative. “We currently need help to pay for vehicle insurance for the truck annually, and other costs include: our rent for the pantry, funds to pay consistent pantry staff, so we can retain good staff and continue to assist the community. Pantry staff assist with picking up, sorting, packing, and distributing groceries to families in need.”
The teens have received recognition for their efforts, with the non-profit honoring them with a special presidential recognition for their volunteer service and the girls were presented with an award from the city of Sunny Isles Beach.
Click Here to Read a Q&A with Julia Krass
Click here to Read a Q&A with Charlotte Krass
including Condé Nast Traveler, The Miami Herald, Departures, and MIAMI Modern Luxury. Her first cookbook, Miami Cooks, featuring recipes from the city’s best restaurants, was
released in the fall of 2020. She is the co-founder of Saffron Supper Club, a roving Middle-Eastern culinary experience and produces Friday Beach, a neighborhood celebration that happens in her town of Surfside the first Friday of the month in the summer.