Elementary student starts charity to help area homeless

Josilyn Chambers, 9, said she wanted to help homeless people in the area, so she got to work and started a charity.

Posted: Aug 27, 2019 5:09 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2019 5:13 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A local student at Bessie Ellison Elementary School has gone above and beyond to give back to her community. Josilyn Chambers, 9, said she wanted to help homeless people in the area, so she got to work and started a charity.

"We need to give to people, and it feels right," Chambers said. 

The charity started earlier this month when Chambers and her mother were in the parking lot of Hy-Vee. She said they saw a homeless man and gave him a bottle of water. That small act of kindness grew into a bigger project.

"We decided to make bags but we needed people's help, so we got a site on Facebook. It's called Everyone Matters," Chambers said. 

The Facebook page, titled 'Everyone Matters Project,' already has over 100 likes in just a small amount of time. Chambers said with the help of her family, she was able to purchase several items to put into bags, which she then handed out to those in need.

"We went to a store and bought all these supplies, and the bags cost seven dollars," Chambers said. "So then, we went downtown because there's a lot of homeless people in St. Joe. We stopped by a few places that we would know, then we gave people the bags."

She said her family has already handed out well over 30 bags and continues to keep going with the help and donations given by those in the community. 

Their fundraising goal was set for $1,000, and Chambers said they're well on their way towards achieving that amount. Bessie Ellison music teacher, Laura Wagers, also donated to the project, saying she's proud to see her student step up and give back. 

"Josilyn is one of those students that has said 'I'm not going to wait for anyone else to fix this problem, I'm going to fix this problem. I'm going to be the one that makes a difference where a difference needs to be made,'" Wagers said. 

She said she's been Chambers teacher for four years now and hopes to see other students follow in her footsteps. 

"To know that this generation coming up and that these students that we're teaching every day are not just waiting for it to be their problems or for it to be handed to them, they are doing something about it now," Wagers said. "That gives me a lot of hope for the future."

If you're interested in donating to Chambers' project, visit their Facebook Page

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