At just 16, Prajval Sharma from Cupertino has already founded a nonprofit that leverages the power of partnerships to make sure hungry kids start the day with breakfast.
Sharma, founder in 2020 of the nonprofit My Support for Kids Foundation (https://mysupportforkids.org/), partnered with the Salvation Army in Santa Clara to provide 100 bags filled with breakfast cereal and snacks to feed and please hungry kids in local families.
Each kid-friendly bag held a box of breakfast cereal, a nutrition bar, fruit juice, Cheez-Its and chips. Sharma and his family filled the bags assembly-line style.
Santa Clara Councilmember Suds Jain joined Sharma in distributing half the bonus bags to registered families on June 16th at the Salvation Army’s weekly food distribution, held at the Santa Clara Citadel on Homestead Rd.
Sharma’s mission to help disadvantaged kids fits right in with the Salvation Army’s mission to “do the most good for those with the most need in the community.” Last year, he participated in a Salvation Army food distribution in San Jose.
He has partnered locally with other organizations as well, both for food drives and distribution. However, My Support for Kids outreach goes beyond the Bay Area. Volunteers in Texas, New Zealand, and India also provide for kids.
It was on a 2019 trip to visit his grandparents in India, where Sharma’s parents were born, that he got the idea of helping disadvantaged kids. He visited the Gadwal, Telangana, Blind School for about 70 kids.
“I realized that these people were not getting two square meals a day or have proper clothing,” said Sharma, who is literate in Sanskrit and Kannada. “So my family bought pastries for them, and we saw their smiles.”
“It didn’t cost much,” he continued. “We made a big impact with just a little money. It was astonishing. It made me believe I can do more.”
Sharma is now driven — even in his sleep, he says — by two constant thoughts.
“I am responsible for helping others. There is nothing stopping me from this action,” he said. “Even small help can make a difference. It’s astonishing.”
Sharma tutors students in math online through the Russian School of Math to earn money to supply food for My Support for Kids and accepts donations.
He negotiates with suppliers for discounts on bulk retail purchases, which makes the dollars stretch. His summer goal, still working alongside other organizations, is to fill and distribute 750 food bags for kids in two months.
Sharma begins his junior year at Cupertino High School in the fall and plans to study computer science in college, focusing on Artificial Intelligence. He received a 2020 President’s Volunteer Service Award.
“I have fun helping others and at the same time, I’m learning the importance of giving and the art of being selfless and caring towards others, of building empathy….,” said Sharma. “I love to see the smiles on peoples faces.”