A very young Sandy Springs resident is learning what it means to be a philanthropist.
Winston Fejervary, 5, a preschool student, recently raised $820 for food for the less fortunate. With the funds, he purchased two shopping carts full of fresh meat, vegetables and fruit to help alleviate hunger in his community. He donated the food to the Community Assistance Center’s food pantry in Sandy Springs. The pantry provides food to more than 500 local families a month and receives more than 1,200 visits a month from individuals in need from Sandy Springs and Dunwoody.
His grandmother, Maria Fejervary of Sandy Springs, is teaching him about giving to others.
“I try to teach my children and grandchildren about giving. I asked him how may toys he has. He said he must have 1,000. I asked him, ‘What’s more important: toys or food?’ He said, ‘Food. Without it you’ll die!’ So we talked about it. If food is more important, would you rather get food for your birthday than toys? He said, ‘Yes.’”
Winston asked his friends to give him grocery store gift cards for his birthday instead of toys. They gave $220. With the help of his grandmother, he created an online fundraiser on social media and raised more funds. The Publix at the Abernathy Square shopping center contributed $250.
While Winston had a lot of fun shopping, he also thought it was hard work. He and his grandmother shopped for the food, they filled the carts, loaded it into the car, drove to the center and helped unload it at the food pantry.
“He feels proud and had a big smile on his face,” Maria said. “He’s learning that giving is more important than receiving.”
Maria, who is involved with other charitable work, said if you teach kids at a young age to give, then it will be part of their routine their whole life. Already another child in his pre-K school is doing the same thing for his birthday.
“It’s important to teach children that they can make a different and I think it’s empowering to them,” Maria said.
Overall, donors give about 650,000 pounds of food a year to the center, worth over $1 million a year. Donors make it possible for it to distribute more than 50,000 pounds of food a month to neighbors need.