He’s only 10, but Jahkil has helped to feed more than 7,000 peo­ple in need!

Af­ter help­ing to feed the home­less with his aunt, young Jahkil Jack­son wanted to do more . . .

Woman's World - - Start Your Week With A - “Can we give him money for food?” Jahkil asked

Jahkil Jack­son will never for­get that day when he was five and his GreatAunt Ernes­tine brought him along to help feed the home­less in down­town Chicago.

His eyes wide, Jahkil watched qui­etly as Ernes­tine handed out con­tain­ers of chili and chicken noo­dle soup to peo­ple in torn jack­ets and scuffed shoes. And that evening, Jakhil in­no­cently asked his mom, Na-tae, “They ate it right there! How come they didn’t take it home?”

“Oh, sweetie. They don’t have homes,” she an­swered, and when Jahkil asked why, Na-tae ex­plained, “Some­times things just hap­pen.”

Jahkil’s brow fur­rowed with sad­ness. But then, he had an idea.

“Mama, can we buy them houses?” Na-tae’s heart ached. “I’m afraid we don’t have that much money,” she ex­plained.

“We’re lucky to have plenty to eat and a nice place to live,” Jakhil told his pup, JJ. But it didn’t seem fair that some did not. So when, a few days later, Jahkil and his mom were stopped at a red light and spot­ted a man with a “Will work for food” sign, Jakhil blurted, “I know we can’t buy him a house, but can we give him some money for food?”

Nod­ding, Na-tae reached for her purse.

“Bless you, young man,” the stranger said as Jahkil passed him sev­eral bills.

It hap­pened again a few days later when they stopped at a drive-thru for burg­ers.

“Can we get three? One for me, and two for those peo­ple stand­ing over there?” Jakhil asked.

If we keep this up, we’ll run out of money our­selves! Na-tae thought, but she was proud of her lit­tle boy’s gen­eros­ity. So when she learned her friend Cydni was mak­ing bags of ne­ces­si­ties to take to shel­ters, she told Jahkil, “Let’s stop at the dol­lar store and buy some­thing to put in­side.”

Jahkil raced up and down store aisles un­til he found the per­fect items: socks and tooth­brushes. “That way, they can keep their feet warm, and brush their teeth af­ter Aunt Ernes­tine brings them food!” he beamed.

Still long­ing to do more, Jahkil asked his friends to bring things like soap and sham­poo to his birth­day party in­stead of toys for him. They put to­gether a hun­dred “Bless­ing Bags,” tuck­ing a hand­writ­ten note in each one: Take care of your­self. We love you! Then Natae and Jakhil’s dad, Jamiel, brought him down­town to pass out his Bless­ing Bags.

“Thank you. You’re such a nice boy!” smiled one woman wear­ing three sweaters to stay warm.

Jahkil felt so happy know­ing he’d helped, he wanted to keep giv­ing out bags. So a month later, Jahkil sent out plas­tic bags to his class­mates with notes invit­ing them to do­nate— and got so many back, he couldn’t carry them all in one trip!

The fam­ily con­tin­ued host­ing “bag par­ties” for friends to help pack them. And to­day, Jahkil, now 10—who has cre­ated the I Am Project, a non­profit to raise money and dona­tions for the home­less—has given out over 7,000 Bless­ing Bags to home­less folks. Last fall, Jahkil even won the Glo­ria Bar­ron Prize for Young He­roes. “I’m so happy!” Jahkil screamed as he ran through the house—be­cause the honor comes with $5,000.

“This way, I can help so many oth­ers!” he beams. “I just want ev­ery­one to re­al­ize home­less peo­ple are peo­ple, too. And I want kids to know they don’t have to wait un­til they’re grown up to be great. You can be great right now!”

— Bill Holton

“One per­son can make a dif­fer­ence, and ev­ery­one should try.” John F. Kennedy

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