The GivingHope Project

Teen Creates A Charity To Give 12,000 Masks And More To The Homeless

In times of great crisis, it's easy to get bogged down in the negative news. There's just so much of it! That's why it's important to do as Mr. Rogers suggested and look for the helpers. It's always heartening to know that there are good people who are doing their best to counteract the worst that the world can throw at us.

It's even better when such support comes from the least expected people.

A teen in Washington decided he wanted to help the homeless through the pandemic, so he set up a charity to do just that.

The GivingHope Project

"I want to give back and I enjoy doing this," Liem Kaplan, 13, told Q 13 Fox. But that's almost an understatement considering how much giving back Liem has done given that he's only 13.

Liem, who was born in Vietnam and adopted at 11 months old, started his first charitable venture when he was just 6 - a coat drive. He also organized a fundraiser at his elementary school to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

But then, Liem understands hardships well, as he was born with limb differences in both his arms. However, he's determined to help as many people as he can.

When the pandemic started to really hit, Liem saw how vulnerable the homeless population in his area was and wanted to help.

The GivingHope Project

"He said, 'I want to collect masks for people,'" Liem's mom Nancy told Yahoo Life. "I said, 'So what is your plan?'"

So, Liem put out a call on social media, collecting donations of both cash and products from the community to donate to the local homeless shelters and outreach organizations. It's been a huge hit, big enough that by May, Liem had set up The GivingHope Project.

It's hard to believe, but in a short time, The GivingHope Project has made an incredible impact.

The GivingHope Project

To date, Nancy believes that they've donated 12,000 masks, 2,000 lunches, 6,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, 4,000 pairs of socks, and 2,500 bottles of hand sanitizer. Liem has also helped organize volunteers who come together to pack hundreds of hygiene kits for the homeless.

"We haven’t had to buy any masks because people like Liem have just been donating them," Cori Walters, executive director for Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank, told Q 13 Fox.

Liem and Nancy have found other ways to help, too.

The GivingHope Project

"We also replaced a women’s broken glasses and paid for a man to stay in a hotel while waiting for a shelter bed to open," Nancy told Yahoo Life.

That man, 62-year-old Tony from Seattle, called Liem his "13-year-old angel," according to Q 13 Fox. "This is my first time ever being homeless and I don’t want to be like this," he said.

Although he's received plenty of praise for his efforts, Liem downplays it quite casually.

The GivingHope Project

"What I do isn’t that hard," he told Yahoo Life. "You ask someone what they need [and] if you don’t have it, ask someone else to help you. Everyone can do that. You just have to care enough to stop and ask."

His formula is pretty simple: "If you see a problem, find a solution and do it."

Liem's parents are still in the process of making The GivingHope Project its own, legal non-profit entity, but the work they're doing will continue all the same.

Check out The GivingHope Project right here.

h/t: Yahoo Life, Q 13 Fox