After growing up in a women’s shelter herself, one 14-year-old has made big strides to help the homeless in Charlotte.
ZaNia Stinson founded her project, Z Feeds Go-Go Bags, when she was just 9 years old.
“I’ve been doing this to help others because I know how it feels to not have food and to not have anywhere to stay,” Stinson said.
Her go-go bags are filled with items like nonperishable food, water and toiletries.
Already Stinson has made and given away more than 800 of these go-go bags.
The bags are mainly distributed to The Salvation Army. Stinson said that her family also keeps extra bags in the car to give to homeless people on the street.
“It makes my heart happy that I am able to give back to people and make their day just a little bit better,” Stinson said.
The original inspiration for Z Feeds Go-Go Bags came after a seemingly normal visit to Food Lion. There, Stinson saw a homeless woman standing outside the store.
“I was really confused why she was standing outside of a food store and she didn’t have any food,” Stinson said.
Stinson and her mother gave the woman $5 so that she could get food. Z Feeds Go-Go Bags emerged soon after that.
“I was really excited to help others, so I wanted to start my own project,” Stinson said.
Stinson’s work won her a $3,000 grant this year through the Riley’s Way Foundation’s Call for Kindness competition. The award is given to teen-led projects that inspire kindness, strengthen communities and bring people together.
With that money, Stinson said that she can make a lot more bags for people in need. Along with the grant, the majority of Stinson’s project is funded through donations.
Stinson makes the go-go bags in her spare time after school and on weekends. Her family, church, school and dance team all help to make the bags as well.
For now, she has no plans to slow down.
“I plan to make these bags forever,” Stinson said. “I want my family when I grow up to help make these bags.”
Stinson will be going into ninth grade at Mountain Island Day Community Charter School this year. In the future, she said that she wants to be a dermatologist because she likes watching the hit TV show Dr. Pimple Popper.
“I want to help people with their skin and pop pimples,” Stinson said.
Anyone who wishes to contact or donate to Z Feeds Go-Go Bags can email firstname.lastname@example.org.