One 12-year-old boy is working to help the less fortunate in the Birmingham community.
Ethan Hill started his journey of service back in 2016 when he noticed a man who was homeless on his way to school.
At just 6 years old, Ethan introduced himself to the man and began worrying about his well being.
He researched emergency needs of the homeless living on the streets and took $100 of his Christmas money to purchase essential survival supplies as gifts.
The items were packaged in multipurpose five-gallon buckets and were distributed at Christmas to the gentleman (Mr. Marcus) and others under the underpass.
Each year thereafter, using his own money and donations from community members, Ethan along with volunteers created care packages to distribute during times of the greatest need.
To date, more than 2800 care packages and survival supplies have been distributed since 2016.
“I’m really concerned about [homelessness] because it’s something that should not be happening to anybody,” said Ethan, "It's good to not only think about yourself. When you give to others in their time of need during your time of need God will do the same for you."
Friday, December 2, 2022 over 70 people joined Ethan and his family at the Don Hawkins Recreational Center to pack survival bags.
Each bag was filled with toiletries, sleeping bags, rain coats, snacks and more.
Ethan's mother, Ebony Hill, supports her son and his dreams. She advises other parents to be open to listening to their children.
“A lot of times, parents, we are guilty of shutting our kids down when they say things and they sound not as thought out and planned out as we would think as an adult," said Hill, "But amazingly, kids come up with some of the most amazing ideas because their thinking is a lot more open and a lot more free. Our job now is to start getting behind these ideas and help cultivate them into this.”
Ethan says he has a lot more ideas to help the less fortunate.
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The newest edition to his non profit is the mobile supply and educational unit.
People in need will be able to come into the purple trailer and grab whatever they need stay safe in the cold.
"It kind of restores the dignity of the people that were serving so they get to go shopping again. It’s kind of therapeutic to go in a store and pick what you like,” said Ethan.
Ethan's most recent efforts are funded by donations and the $10,000 prize money Ethan won from the Gloria Barron prize for young heroes.
Those funds could have been used for college or personal use, but Ethan believed the funds would be better served in his community.
If you are interested in donating to Ethan's cause you can visit their website.