It’s packing day for 9-year-old Jahkil Jackson of Chicago. He and a buddy from school are busy filling plastic bags with everyday items that will be given away to Chicago’s homeless.
Jahkil calls them “blessing bags.”
“Last year I’ve done 1627 bags and this year I’ve done 1026 bags. And my goal this year is to do 5000,” he said.
Jahkil says he came up with the idea after helping his aunt feed homeless people on Lower Wacker when he was about 6-years-old.
“It made me very sad, and feeling that emotion made me want to straightaway do something about it,” he said.
“And he came home and said ‘I don’t want anyone to be homeless,'” said mom Natae Thompson.
Natae says last year, Jahkil hit upon the idea of giving away bags with small items most of us take for granted.
“It started off something small that he was doing with some of his classmates, his friends, and they put together like 100 bags. And we just kinda thought that would be it. And he just kept wanting to do it monthly so it was like okay, here we go,” mom said.
Jahkil and his family take the bags to Chicago homeless shelters and to areas where homeless people gather. That’s his favorite part.
“I feel happy because I’m putting a smile on other people’s faces,” Jahkil said. “Well I feel grateful to see other people happy.”
“It’s really cool cause they’re saying God bless you young man, thank you so much. And they’re actually dropping jewels on him saying you need to stay in school, your education is so important,” Natae said.
The fourth grader has now started a website and a foundation, called “Project I Am” to raise money and donations for the blessing bags. He speaks about his efforts in local schools, and is winning awards.
“I have two long term goals. One, I want to send blessing bags to Haiti. And I also want to see other kids doing this in their states,” Jahkil said.
Jahkil is using his website to spread the blessing bag idea to other cities.