Ten-year-old Tucker Patsey has been using his artistic talent to raise money for a cause helping his community, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. After he created artwork during the early days of pandemic, a suggestion to sell it led Tucker to give all of his earnings to charity. He selected Fox Chapel’s Backpack for Hunger, a charity that gives bags of food to food insecure children. What started as a way to connect with family, Tucker’s passion became a pathway for helping others in need.
During the quarantine, Tucker engaged his family in virtual painting sessions to spend quality time together. Tucker was accustomed to creating artwork since he was just a toddler when he started woodworking with his dad. He made wooden American flags and wooden signs representing his family’s vacation spot in Lake Chautauqua. He also made pendants for necklaces with melted crayon shavings and small pieces of glass. Tucker’s art teacher at his elementary school recognized his artistic talent which was similar to pop styles of Andy Warhol and Burton Morris.
Art is a passion for Tucker who shared that creating it is calming for him. Now, his passion has become a powerful force for good. With his parents’ help, Tucker created an Instagram account called @art2combathunger where he posts photos of his artwork to raise money for the charity. Each piece of artwork costs $10 and it all goes to Backpack for Hunger. Tucker has already donated $515 to the charity.
Backpack for Hunger began in 2015 when a team got together to discuss how the students who depended on the school lunch program could continue receiving meals on the weekends. With just $5, each child receives a bag of food to bring home for the weekend and the program continues through the summer. Backpack for Hunger has distributed thousands of bags since their inception, and they will be able to do even more now with donations from Tucker and the awareness he has spread about the program.
Tucker has even grown his effort to involve other kids in his community. On February 13, he will host two art sessions where “pre-registered grade school-aged kids will paint on 5-by-7-inch canvases with either acrylic paint or paint markers, discuss food insecurity and Backpack for Hunger and, if there’s interest, may have the chance to donate their skills and work to @art2combathunger.”
What began as a way to connect with family has now become a way to connect with his community. For Tucker, giving back was not a question as his family consistently donates to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and he was aware of the significance of giving to those in need. As a fourth-grader, Tucker has grown into an incredible role model for his peers and the dedication he has for his cause will make a difference in the lives of the many families he helps in his community.