Josh Duhamel‘s little boy isn’t so little anymore.
“He’s already swimming around in the pool, and I was like, ‘What the hell happened to my baby?’ He’s walking all over the place, talking. He’s a toddler now!” the actor tells PEOPLE of 13-month-old Axl Jack.
“It happens quick. Next thing you know, they’re going off to college. So that’s one thing I’ve really taken to heart, trying to be there as much as I can.”
Axl is growing into his own musical tastes. He listens to the new songs mom Fergie is recording and has repped Wu Tang Clan on Instagram. But Duhamel, 41, says his son is really into Bob Marley: His parents read him the children’s picture book Every Little Thing by Marley’s daughter, Cedella, and sing along to the lyrics.
“He loves that book,” the You’re Not You star says. “It’s the one book we can get him to sit down and actually listen to.”
But fatherhood didn’t just give Duhamel a family — it inspired him to get involved in the fight to end child hunger, partnering with Unilever Project Sunlight (a sustainability initiative encouraging people to create a brighter future for the next generation) and Feeding America for the “Share a Meal” initiative.
His interest started, he says, when Fergie, 39, pulled him away from one football Sunday and drove him to a soup kitchen in West Hollywood. He saw lines of children and parents waiting for food and was drawn to their cause.
“She’s a very passionate girl, and after we had our boy, I think that really opens your eyes,” he says. “Any parent would understand how awful it would be if you weren’t able to provide fully for your kid, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of that happening in the U.S. Even though there’s so much food that’s wasted every year in this country, there’s still so many families, especially children, who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Having a child of our own made us even more willing to try to do something.”
So what’s next for this family of three? Their themed Halloween costumes are always a hit, but Duhamel says he and Fergie are still figuring out the festive details — though Axl is sure to be stinkingly cute.
“I think Axl’s going as a skunk,” he teases. “I’m sure it will be something ridiculous.”
To learn how to join Duhamel and help “Share a Meal,” check out the new mini-documentary, Going to Bed Hungry: The Changing Face of Child Hunger, and download the project’s tool kit.
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— Michele Corriston