12-year-old starts tie-dye business to help local food bank during COVID-19 pandemic

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 12-year-old in Fuquay-Varina is using his creativity to help a local food bank.

AJ Gilbert started AJ's QuaranT-shirts, a business that sells tie-dye hoodies, shirts, and masks.

"I was always into tie-dye, wore it almost everywhere," said Gilbert, who first started trying it at summer camps.

When the stay-at-home order went into effect in March, Gilbert began tie-dying at home with the help of his parents.

"Most of (the orders) are in the US, but we've had a few orders from Japan," Gilbert said.

Gilbert is donating his profits to Harnett Food Pantry in Lillington; so far, his donations equal more than 5,000 pounds worth of food.

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"It's not always been easy, but it's totally worth it when he sees the sense of accomplishment. When he's able to sit back and say 'Oh my gosh. I did that,'" AJ's mom, Mindy Gilbert, said.

Gilbert first began donating to the food pantry when he was in the fourth grade, using his birthday as an opportunity to do so.

He's now encouraging others to find ways to give back.

"Go for it. There's no wrong way to do it as long as you're doing it for a good cause," Gilbert said.

If you're interested in purchasing products from AJ's QuaranT-Shirts, click here.
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