NOAH RUPP, currently a 9th grader from Charlotte, was walking back to his hotel after a family dinner in Asheville last winter. He noticed the city’s homeless taking cover in the doorways of downtown shops, shivering.
“We’re seeing a bunch of people just curled up,” he recalls. “They’re not really equipped for the weather.”
Noah created the Noah’s Ark Project USA and began searching for a sleeping bag that could meet the needs of people living outside in the elements. He knew people would have to carry them around in their backpacks all day so they couldn’t be too heavy. After much research,, Noah found a manufacturer overseas who made exactly what he was looking for. He got a discount on lightweight, packable, waterproof covering that people could use until they found permanent housing. The bags retail for $60, but after a couple of weeks of emailing, the company that manufactures them agreed to sell a shipment of 1,000 to the Rupps for $15 apiece.
Noah raised the money from family, friends, churches, and a yard sale sponsored by his middle school class. He brought the first 100 sleeping bags that he received from the distributor to Homeward Bound’s AHOPE Day Center on Sunday, January 27. His hope is that they can help homeless individuals who are sleeping in the woods, on the streets, under bridges and in other places outside. He also shipped 15 dog jackets to AHOPE which should arrive this week. Noah knows that many folks who are experiencing homelessness cannot stay in shelters with their dogs. This means they often sleep outside and he wanted to provide some warmth and protection for their pets too.
Thank you Noah! You’re thoughtfulness, humanity, and the energy you put into helping people experiencing homelessness is an inspiration. If you’ve been inspired by Noah’s activism, feel free to browse his website or contact Ruby@homewardboundwndc.org to see how you can get involved!