For one local middle school student, helping others has taught him valuable lessons about volunteerism and appreciating what you have.
“I learned that there are so many more people out there in need and who need food and supplies during these troubling times, and that helping out in any way always makes a huge impact on someone’s life,” Blach Intermediate School eighth-grader Devansh Malik said. “I also learned not to take everyday things that I do for granted, after realizing that there are way more people than I thought who don’t have what I take for granted.”
Last summer, the Los Altos resident started a GoFundMe for charity and raised $99 by posting about it on Nextdoor. He used the money to buy supplies for the homeless and those affected by the fires last August.
Devansh was inspired to help after people associated with the United Sikhs Foundation – a charity he had been working with that donates food to homeless shelters – told him in June about the need for more supplies. In addition to essential items such as food and clothing, he raised enough money to buy smaller things such as colored pencils and toys for the kids to brighten up their days.
It was difficult to raise money because there were so many
GoFundMe campaigns out there for donors to choose from, Devansh said, and it was also hard to gain the trust of strangers.
“At first, people were, like, ‘Sorry, I can’t donate because I don’t actually know where this is going,’” he said. “To get their trust, I described where all the money was going and gave detailed information. I also gave an explanation of why I was doing it, so I guess people thought it was a good cause and decided to donate a little.”
To transport the supplies to those in need, Devansh purchased food and visited homeless shelters and hotels to deliver it himself. He also used the proceeds from the GoFundMe drive to buy supplies that he dropped off at the United Sikhs Foundation. The organization then distributed the goods to their destinations nearly two hours from Devansh’s home.
Although it was an arduous process, Devansh said it was worth the effort.
“My favorite part of the entire experience was probably going to the homeless shelters and delivering everything,” he said. “It felt like I had accomplished something, and that everything I was doing was going toward a good cause. It felt really good to give supplies to people who didn’t have them.”
Devansh said he wants to use his story to spread a message to anyone listening, especially kids and teenagers: “No matter what time it is or what’s going on in the world, you can always help someone. There are so many people out there that don’t have the things that we take for granted.”