11/20/2012 AT 5:05 PM ET
Jake Gyllenhaal knows a good cause when he sees one.
The End of Watch actor was honored Monday night at FIJI Water’s New Eyes for the Needy 80th Anniversary dinner, held at Colicchio & Sons in New York, for his work with the organization.
“Jake, who brought his mom as his date, talked at length to the small room – and he didn’t even have to give a speech! – he shared some personal stories from childhood,” an onlooker tells PEOPLE.
Gyllenhaal explained to guests that he got involved with the organization as a child because his grandpa, a doctor, made him donate his eyeglasses every time his prescription changed.