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Boy, 11, starts nonprofit to feed Charleston County's kids in need

A young man who's not old enough to drive, not even old enough to buy a ticket to a PG-13 movie, is changing lives and bringing his friends along for the ride. Meet June's Jefferson Awards recipient.

A young man who's not old enough to drive, not even old enough to buy a ticket to a PG-13 movie, is changing lives and bringing his friends along for the ride.

He's inspired a new generation by helping feed those less fortunate, and that's just one reason why Jackson Silverman is this month's Jefferson Awards recipient.

A summer swim league and early morning practices are all part of Silverman's schedule these days. It's not unusual for the James Island 11-year-old to dive in head first no matter the activity, though.

While he's making waves on his swim team, he's making a bigger splash at the Lowcountry Food bank.

"When I heard that one in four kids were hungry in Charleston County, I was very, very, very upset," he said. "And I wanted to lots and lots more to help it so it would become zero out of four."

Silverman is the driving force behind the ninprofit I Heart Hungry Kids.

"I packed bags of food when I was a little kid at my church, and I kept thinking and asking questions and it carried over until I was 7. And I wanted to start an initiative to make a nonprofit to feed hungry kids who can't get food to eat," Silverman said.

Once a month during the school year, Silverman and his team of volunteers bag food for kids in need.

"I go out and do lots of talks at schools, at 4-H clubs, all over the place and I get these kids, and I inspire them to come and help out," he said.

Serving 50 kids grew to 180, dozens of bags of food now total 21,000. And it's all from a kid who understand the power of giving at the gentle age of 11.

"I actually met one of the kids who received one of the bags we packed. and she came and packed more bags. And it made me feel so grateful because I saw that when somebody receives something from us they wanted to help other kids have that same feeling," Silverman said.

Silverman's next stroke of genius is to expand his nonprofit from the Lowcountry to the state, then to the entire country. It's a lofty goal, but well within reach.

In May, Silverman was named one of the country's top ten youth volunteers by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

ABC News 4 has committed to profile people in the Lowcountry who go above and beyond by giving their time and talents to help the people around them. It's all part of our partnership with the Jefferson Awards, a national organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating those who serve and lead.

If you would like to share someone's story of volunteerism who needs to be recognized, click here.

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