OAKLAND (KPIX 5) Deep inside a supply closet at Oakland’s REACH Academy sit boxes of toiletry items, all donated by Ethan Auyeung. The Los Gatos High School freshman has been donating toothpaste, lotions, socks, wash clothes, colored pencils, and even snacks to REACH”s students for over a year. And at a school where more than 8 out of 10 children qualify for free lunch, the small plastic bags of goodies these kids receive from Auyeung are a welcome gift.
It was about two years ago that Auyeung learned about how many American children move from house to house, even couch to couch, living homeless with relatives or friends. Auyeung was shocked by the numbers he heard.
“There’s over 13.2 million homeless youth and children in America,” said Auyeung. “I wanted to give them a person that could be a voice for them, be an advocate for homeless youth and children.”
So he founded 3 Helping Hands. The organization’s name stands for Auyeung’s two hands plus a third hand, which represents the community as a whole helping out. In two years, Auyeung has used his savings, cash from recycling, and businesses donations to give away thousands of care packages to needy Bay Area children, including those at REACH.
But the need is not just in Northern California. According to the U.S. census and education data, 1 in 30 American children are homeless. It’s a situation that REACH Academy teacher Chasmin Moses is all too familiar with. The veteran educator says that is why Auyeung and his care packages have been such a blessing to her students. Because Auyeung is not just dropping off goodie bags for the kids, he is dropping in to say hello, give words of encouragement, and spread a message of hope.
“And my students, they were inspired, “said Moses. “So, little seeds were planted while he was speaking.”
Auyeung says he has plans to expand to two new schools in Oakland and San Jose this coming spring. If you would like to donate to 3 Helping Hands you can send an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org