Courtesy Khloe Kares
Everyday on her walk to school, Khloe Thompson, 9, kept noticing the same homeless people and couldn’t help but feel troubled. She kept asking her mom why or how they were there, and at the end of the conversation she always wondered, “What can I do to help?” Seeing these struggling individuals in her community resonated with her deeply, which is what eventually led Khloe to create her own charity devoted to improving the lives of local homeless people. With her big smile and sunny but determined disposition, Khloe quickly began to effect change in the homeless community, raising spirits while lending some much-needed assistance to those living on the street.
“No dream is too small or too big!” writes Khloe on her GoFundMe page, which was set up by Khloe and her mom Alisha and has raised $14,000 in the two months since it was established, exceeding its initial $10,000 goal. “Any funds raised on this page will go toward our charity filing fees […] and any future volunteer projects. The more we raise, the more people we can help!”
The charity, called Khloe Kares, is a community service-oriented organization that plans different projects to lend a hand to those in need. Khloe’s first project was Kare Bags, which are intended to help the homeless. With the help of her great-grandmother, Khloe sews sturdy tote bags and fills them with essential toiletries, like toothpaste, soap, and shampoo. While Khloe’s GoFundMe page accepts monetary donations, donors can also contribute material that can be used to sew the durable tote bags, as well as toiletries and other useful supplies to stock them with.
Courtesy Khloe Kares
“I like to give them a nice sturdy bag that they can have forever,” says Khloe of her decision to personally sew her tote bags instead of just packaging products inside a plastic bag, “Sometimes they give me hugs, sometimes they say ‘God bless you’ and then they say thank you.”
“As a parent, you’re going to be concerned about her walking up to random strangers,” says Alisha, who accompanies Khloe when she hands out her Kare Bags. Her initial apprehensions were quickly squelched after seeing people’s positive reactions: “People really warm up to her quickly.”
As Khloe strives to help those near her, homelessness has become an increasingly pressing issue in California, with Los Angeles county officials recently calling for a state of emergency on the issue. Irvine is a part of Orange County, where the homeless population was 15,000 in 2015.
For Khloe, Kare Bags are just the beginning. She is currently planning a toy drive for kids living in group homes, which will take place on July 16th. She has collected about $1,000 worth of toys to give out, and additional donations will go towards The Raise Foundation of Orange County, whose goal is to stop child abuse and neglect. Khloe hopes to make the toy drive an annual tradition. “Khloe understands that other kids may not have the same privileges as her,” says her website, “so she wants to give back.”