I’ll never forget the first moment I was inspired to help the homeless. I was 6 years old, and my mom had taken me to hand out clean clothes to people living on the streets in Los Angeles, California, not far from our home.
We hadn’t been out there long when a homeless kid about my age approached me. He was small and all alone. Unfortunately, we’d brought clothes only for adults. We had to tell him we didn’t have anything for him. Watching him walk away with nothing broke my heart.
After that, I wanted to do more to help. My mom encouraged me to start my own group dedicated to the cause. So I founded an organization called Love in the Mirror.
We started small at first, gathering donations like canned fruit, clothes, and soap from kids at my school. Before long, we were delivering truckloads of donations to a local homeless shelter.
We find ways to make sure volunteering is easy and fun. Every few months, I organize a challenge where we try to make 1,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in one day to give out to people in need. We also fill backpacks with pens, pencils, notebooks, and other supplies to hand out before the first day of school in the fall. All together, we’ve helped more than 50,000 homeless people in the Los Angeles area.
I often meet kids who think that if someone is homeless, it’s his or her fault. But homeless people are just like you and me. In many cases, something happened to them that they had no control over.
It can be so easy to make a difference. Volunteer at a local shelter, donate goods, or make sandwiches with your friends to pass out on the streets. You’re never too young to help.
by Jonas Corona, as told to Nell Durfee