CHICAGO (WLS) — What would you think are the most coveted donations to a homeless shelter? The answer may surprise you.
“Socks, hand sanitizer, wipes, tissue,” all get bundled by the dozens into Jahkil Jackson’s “blessing bags,” and then donated to Chicago shelters.
“They’re like gold to us,” explained Sandra Ramsey, the executive director of Cornerstone Community Outreach.
She sees these toiletries make an impact on the hundreds staying at her center.
“Hygiene products are very essential, just in the basic thing of I want to be clean. I might be homeless, but I want to be clean,” she added.
Jahkil’s vision makes a difference. Impressive, considering he’s just nine years old.
“But he’ll be 10 September,” said his mom, Na-tae’ Thompson, with a laugh.
She says it may be destiny considering what Jahkil’s middle name, Naeem, translates as.
“To give without receiving,” she explains, adding, “and we had no idea this was what this was going to mean.”
It means mom is proud-and very busy. Grandma chips in too. But Project I Am as it’s called involves others. As Jahkil works his way down the assembly line, his friends shuffle along too.
“I just feel good giving back to the community,” says 10-year-old Lucas Adams as he moves along the row of toiletries.
The foursome that gathered Wednesday was energized, knowing they’re helping others.
In just five minutes, they churned out 20 bags. By day’s end they made 78.
The group worked out of worked out of the new Reebok store on Chicago’s North Side. Reebok chipped in with towels too.
Project I Am is hoping to make 5,000 bags by the end of this year.
That costs a lot of money. So to balance the budget, Jahkil designed t-shirts.
“He came up with all these words that described him and what he wanted to be about in his life as an adult,” explained Thompson.
Mom had the designs turned into apparel which sell on IAmNaeem.com. They use the profits to buy more toiletries.
And those small, simple bags make us chicago proud.