Fifteen-year-old Shaivi Shah donated more than 150 hygiene kits to the homeless.
By Lauren Lee
The teenager and her parents made the purchases and now it was time to pack them up.
Shaivi Shah, 15, recruited her fellow Tesoro High School honor society members to assemble kits of hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, lotion and reusable masks for distribution to help people experiencing homelessness in the middle of a pandemic.
“They don’t have necessities right now that are crucial to remain clean and stay germ-free,” Shaivi told CNN.
Shah assembles the kits at home.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent speech about the state’s homeless problem sparked her idea. So far, the efforts of the passionate student has led to the delivery of more than 150 low-cost sanitation kits to three Los Angeles shelters.
A vulnerable population
According to the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, on any given day, more than 150,000 Californians are living in homelessness — the most of any US state. Shaivi feared they might be forgotten in this time of social distancing.
“A lot of people are just focusing on themselves and their families,” she said.
The altruistic teen from Rancho Santa Margarita started a GoFundMe account to raise funds to expand her program throughout California and the US.
“These people that are living on the streets, they have no protection, so even a small amount could help.”
A call to service
Shah hopes that her actions will encourage others to step in to help in their own ways during the pandemic.
“It’s important for people to step in and just do whatever they can, even if it helps just one person.”
Shah is no stranger to community service. Last year, she raised thousands of dollars for a homeless shelter through a dance recital. Her duty to help people experiencing homelessness comes from a feeling of gratitude.
“Imagine yourself in their shoes, without a house, without clothes, without any sanitation,” she says.
“That’ll make you be grateful for what you have, and possibly donate and do something good for the other people.”