PHILADELPHIA, January 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom large and homelessness sadly escalates, many people find themselves asking, “What can I do to help?” With so many suffering from the effects of the pandemic, it can be easy to turn a blind-eye or focus solely on your own wellbeing. But for 16-year-old Alexa Rhodes, standing by and doing nothing was not an option. As someone who has volunteered for the past 10 years with her family at communal dinners for homeless people, Alexa knew that she wanted to do more. Alexa entered the Global Youth Entrepreneurship Competition with her high school in Abington, PA and won first prize for her program called H.E.L.P.I.N.G the Homeless Backpacks which stands for healing, empowering, loving, providing, influencing, nourishing and giving back. She collects essential items such as socks, hand sanitizers, soap, and waterproof blankets through financial and in-kind contributions to fill her backpacks with products worth approximately $50 and distributes them to needy charities.
Recently, Alexa partnered with one2one USA Foundation to collect donations and to administer and oversee the disbursement of the funds necessary to complete the backpacks. Through the partnership with one2one, this program quickly and efficiently ensures that the backpacks go where they are needed, and are disseminated by trusted partner organizations serving the homeless populations nationally.
In October 2020, Alexa made her first donation of 75 backpacks to The Broad Street Ministry in Center City, Philadelphia. And in January 2021, a second delivery of 75 backpacks was made to Covenant House in Philadelphia. Alexa specifically chose this charity as it helps homeless teens; something she can relate to being a teenager herself. Alexa has been inspired by the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and has taken that meaning to heart.
One2one USA is proud to support Alexa in her mission to help the homeless crisis and has partnered with Bombas who donated 1,725 pairs of socks and Alphabroder who supplied baseball caps, backpacks, blankets, hand sanitizers, ponchos, water bottles and wipes.
Alexa is just getting started and would love to provide backpacks to homeless charities across the country. If you’re interested in learning more about this amazing program, becoming a partner organization or making a financial contribution, please click here.