Helping homeless people since he was 5 years old.
When Jahkil Jackson was 5 years old he joined his aunt and cousins distributing food to the homeless people of his hometown of Chicago, USA. This opened Jahkil’s eyes to the lives of millions of people living in poverty around the world. Seeing people sleeping in sleeping bags on concrete floors under bridges made Jahkil feel sad. He was confused to learn that some people don’t have a home to go to. This sparked a fire inside Jahkil’s belly and a desire to help those in need.
Jahkil went home and asked his parents if they could give houses to all the homeless people. His parents explained that it would be impossible to buy houses for every homeless person or give them money. But Jahkil wouldn’t take no for an answer, the fire inside his belly was still burning and he knew he had to find a way to help homeless people.
Over the next couple of years he kept thinking of ideas for how he could help until eventually one idea stuck. Jahkil set out to collect donations of essential items like wipes, deodorant, toothbrushes, cereal bars, water and socks. He packaged them up and distributed them to those in need in bags that he called ‘Blessing Bags’. Jahkil paid close attention to the needs of the people he was serving, adjusting what he put in to the bags to suit their needs. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic Jahkil made sure to add masks and hand gel to the bags and in winter he added hats and scarves.
Within just a few years Jahkil had raised more than $375,000 (about £340,000) for the homeless and brought together more than 1,000 volunteers. Together they have given Blessing Bags to more than 90,000 people not just in Chicago but all over America – in Los Angeles, Oklahoma, Washington DC, Atlanta, Virginia, Idaho and more!
Jahkil wants to encourage other young people to find their passions and make the world a better place. When asked what his advice for future change-makers is, Jahkil said: ‘The tip I would recommend is to start off small. When I started, there were about 15 people and we created 88 blessing bags. Now I’m doing events with thousands of people and have impacted nearly 90,000 people.’.
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