Local students, families hit the streets on Thanksgiving to help St. Louis homeless community

Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 10:46 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - About the time most folks are basting their Thanksgiving turkey, a small group of friends and family will be on the streets of St. Louis doing what they can to help the homeless community on the eve of winter.

Kids that Kare was organized several years ago by Parkway West High School student Charles Bennett after a similar program at his church had come to an end. He and several friends, as well as their families spend the year preparing bags of supplies to distribute to the homeless of the city on Thanksgiving Day.

“Over the past year I’ve been saving up money through my allowance and donations and we pack up these bags with vital items for the winter,” Bennett said, “We pack them all up and then on Thanksgiving morning we go out and give out the bags to the homeless.”

The program started with just Bennett and his family, but then other friends decided to join and help too. Bennett says there are about 11 people total and several others who help at various times of the year.

“I wanted to get them (his friends) into it and get their parents into it,” Bennett said. “So, our families all got together, and we talked about it and were like ‘yeah, let’s keep doing it.’ We have grown every year and we are going to keep growing in the future.”

The students started off with five bags and are now up to more than 100. The care packages include items many without shelter need for winter weather, such as gloves, hats, socks and umbrellas. The also include food and personal hygiene items.

Bennett said the group focuses on Thanksgiving because not everyone is as fortunate as they are and they want to share what they can.

“Every time I am out there, and we are giving out the bags, some of the faces on these people are just priceless,” Bennett said. “It really warms my heart and makes me feel like a better person knowing I am helping other people out.”

While Kids that Kare is currently using their own money and whatever donations they can muster through word of mouth, as the organization grows, they hope to start a website and expand. Anyone wishing to help can contact them at nmatula@charter.net.

“It’s going toward good people,” Bennett said. “Good people who need our help.”