Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Meet 7 year old Luke from Winter Haven, FL. For his project he and his classmates made blessing bags full of food for the hungry. Luke stated, “I want to feed hungry people and get my class to do the same. When I see people that are hungry I want to bring them home with me.”
- How many volunteers participated in your service project? This was so cool! I got my Boy Scout den involved, my friends, my grandparents, and my great-grandmother. We put it on Facebook, and other places started donating toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo. My grandfather and grandmother helped me pass out the bags to people in need on the street. My great-grandmother lives in a nursing home, and she helped us making blessing bags too! Then the people at school heard, and we wrote another grant so we could get families involved on Family Volunteer Day, which was Nov. 18, 2017. In total, we had 10 adult volunteers and 20 youth volunteers.
- How many hours did you specifically spend on your project? I spent 100 hours on this project, which included making the bags, passing them out, picking up donations from hotels and dentist offices, shopping for the blessing bag items, and talking to other people about the project. The 10 kids in my Boy Scout den spent 10 hours each. My grandmother and grandfather spent 20 hours each. My great-grandmother spent 10 hours making blessing bags, and she says, “I talk to people about it all the time,” so it’s probably more than that. On Family Volunteer Day, 50 people spent 3 hours each making blessing bags. Yaaaay!
- How many individuals were affected by your project? This is the really cool part – there is a community of homeless that we take the blessing bags to on Sundays, and the core group of 40 has been growing each week. We’re up to 80 regulars! The really cool part is that we will send everyone who makes blessing bags on Family Volunteer Day home with 5 blessing bags so they can pass them out when they come across a homeless person in need. Since our goal was to make 600 bags, we knew that we’ll be able to affect 600 people!
- What did you learn from this experience? I learned that no one is too small to make a difference.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? The homeless community we support is continuing to grow, and thanks to your funding, awareness of this need is growing as well. We continue to receive donations from hotels and dentists, and a local insurance agent has decided to help us as part of her Kindness Revolution campaign.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. My project ended up being bigger than I had imagined. It was awesome to see the look on people’s faces when they were given a blessing bag. My grandfather, we call him Super Grampa Gates, said when he gave out a bag to a guy who was asking for money, the man’s eyes filled with tears and he was so grateful to get not just food, but a toothbrush and toothpaste and stuff to get clean with. The man told my grampa that it’s hard to feel human when you can’t get clean. This project went awesome and I can’t wait to do it again!
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? My project would not have happened without the Karma for Cara microgrant! Before your grant, I was able to make a few bags a week, but your grant allowed me to buy in bulk – which saves money, which allows us to make more bags to help even more people. K4C’s belief in my project is a powerful thing, because when other organizations heard that K4C funded my project, they jumped on board and wanted to donate also.