ATLANTA - A high school student is turning his passion for helping the homeless population, into action. Emory Paul created a non-profit called “Soul Supplies.”
The junior at Walton High School in Marietta says his passion started years ago. “Ever since I was young, when we went to Braves games or Falcons games, I would make my parents give me a dollar to hand to the homeless.”
Paul says while he was distributing backpacks to the homeless in the past, the organization he was with had run out of supplies. He says he’ll never forget the look of despair in one man’s eyes when he learned there were no backpacks left over.
That’s why Paul created his own non-profit. He says he never wanted to see that look in anyone’s eyes again. “This can happen to anyone and that they are not this untouchable cast of society and they are humans, just like anybody else.”
Volunteers help Paul hand out backpacks and bags filled with essential supplies to the homeless in Downtown Atlanta. They are filled with hygiene products, blankets, food ponchos, and even some useful information. In order to help them in the long-term, Paul includes a list of shelters where they can sleep as well as a list of food banks in the area.
“We make a connection with everyone, we make sure to ask them their name and their story; kind of shake their hands and let them know we are with them and that we respect them,” says Paul.
The response has been “amazing,” according to Paul. He says, “everyone is so appreciative.” Paul described how one man in Woodruff Park even decided to help him pass out supplies. He says the man introduced him to the others in the park and said he wanted to protect Paul and the other volunteers.
While COIVD-19 has put a hold on distribution events, Paul says he has plans for a big distribution event once the pandemic subsides. If you’d like to donate, you can visit Soul Supplies by clicking here.
Paul believes it's possible there will be an even bigger need after COVID-19 because people are likely to be more vulnerable to homelessness due to job losses.