First, 10-year-old Joshua Danrich started his own business. Now, he’s on a mission to end child hunger
Joshua Danrich loves exotic cars. He dreamed of Lamborghinis, Porsches, Bugattis, Ferraris, and owning his own car dealership. There’s just one problem—he’s only 10 years old. “I asked my mom, but she said, ‘No, Josh, you can’t have a dealership at 10,'” he says.
So, the budding entrepreneur settled on starting an air freshener and deodorizer company called Mr. Fresh in October 2018. But now, Joshua is more than just a businessman—he’s also quite the young philanthropist. Recently, he partnered with Operation Food Search, a St. Louis–based nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger in St. Louis and the Metro East. Joshua will work as the nonprofit’s spokesperson to help spread awareness of child hunger.
“It’s exciting to help other kids, because I’m a kid, too,” Joshua says. “I love giving back in this way because no child—no matter who they are—should go hungry.” Joshua started this new initiative after eating healthy lunches provided by Operation Food Search during his daily trips to the St. Louis County Library–Lewis and Clark Branch. “I always used to ask him when he came home, ‘You ate at the library?’ Because he would always say he had lunch and I was like, ‘What do you mean?’” says Shay Danrich, Joshua’s mother.
Staff members at the library explained to Danrich that the lunches Joshua was provided were from Operation Food Search’s Childhood Nutrition Program, an effort to feed 8,500 food-insecure school-age children all year round. The program gives food to children to take home over the weekend and provides food for after-school programs and during the summer, when school is not in session. As the nonprofit’s advocate for childhood hunger, Joshua will hold food drives and work to involve the community in the summer and after school programs.
“We had been looking for a charitable organization for him to be involved in, and he loves giving back. He has a big heart, and when he came to me he said ‘Momma, I love what they do,’” Danrich says. “I finally took him to meet them and it was like love at first sight.”
Joshua has participated in the Urban Expo, the St. Louis Kids Expo, scholarship programs, has volunteered with the National Black MBA Association and was a special guest at both the National Society of Black Engineers and the Mix 99.5. Mr. Fresh has also done his fair share of public speaking. He was invited as a guest speaker to the NAACP 107th Anniversary and Dinner and was the keynote speaker at the Unity Festival and Market and the Verizon Innovation STEM Program. The City of Jennings Councilwoman Aja Owens put together a launch party September 1 to recognize Joshua’s accomplishments and hard work as well.
“When [people] see Mr. Fresh, I see it in their eyes. He gives them a sense of hope, a sense of unity, a determination and drive to do more together, which is very amazing to me,” Danrich says. “Just who he is speaks volumes.”
Owning a business at such a young age has boosted his self-esteem and forced him to learn and grow. “It makes me feel really confident in myself because not everyone has a business at my age. It has been life-changing,” Joshua says. “I have to be brave and determined and it’s helped me become an inspirational speaker.”
Next, Joshua will launch Mr. Fresh O.F.S. Food Drive, a new initiative for Operation Food Search that aims to provide food for children this holiday season. Is he up for the challenge? “The sky is not the limit,” Joshua says, “it’s only the view.”