Ethan’s Heart-Bags4Blessings (Referred to hereafter as Ethan’s Heart) was founded in 2016 by Ethan D. Hill who was 6 years old at the time. He took notice of a homeless gentleman by the name of Mr. Marcus who resides underneath a local freeway underpass on his way to school each day. He researched emergency needs of homeless individuals who resided on the streets and took $100.00 of his Christmas money in December of 2016 to purchase essential survival items as gifts. The items were packaged in multipurpose 5-gallon buckets and were distributed at Christmas to the gentlemen and others under the underpass. Each year thereafter, using his own money and donations from community members Ethan along with volunteers created care packages to distribute during street outreach to those individuals who are homeless and reside on the streets. Each year the need and mission of Ethan’s Heart has evolved to meet the immediate needs of the homeless community in and around Birmingham, Alabama.
Ethan’s Heart has evolved into an organization that provides emergency food, drinks, referrals to shelters and other services, clothing, sleeping bags, first aid supplies, and hygiene products to prevent malnutrition and ill-health, while building trust with the homeless individuals we encounter on the street.
Ethan’s Heart builds rapport in an effort to potentially identify those that are veterans, mentally ill, and those at-risk of or are victims of abuse in an effort to connect them with the appropriate service referral.
Crisis stabilization: Ethan’s Heart provides services that assist with deescalating the severity of a person's level of distress and/or need for urgent care associated with hunger, dehydration, poor hygiene related illnesses, hyperthermia during colder months, and death.
Since the conception of Ethan's Heart in 2016 over 4,500 care packages and survival supplies have been distributed to the unhoused homeless population. Ethan has made valuable community partnerships with other agencies in the community that allows him to further the reach of Ethan's Heart and serve many that are in need. Ethan was able to serve the community during The World Games 2022 which was hosted in Birmingham, Alabama by completing food rescues. Food Rescues create opportunities for volunteers to pick up perfectly good food from businesses, organizations, etc. which may have ended up in landfills and repurpose it to end up on family's tables instead.
Ethan's Heart also mobilizes the new Free Mobile Store and Educational Unit. This mobile store moves throughout the community (parks, homeless encampments, blessing days, etc.) bringing survival supplies to those in need. The set up aides in restoring dignity to those who have lost much by giving them the joy of shopping (free of charge) for what they need instead of having to accept what is being given with shame. *If you would like to donate towards this effort, please feel free to visit the Ways To Give Tab*
Awards & Recognitions
Ethan Hill, 12, received the Women’s Committee of 100 of Birmingham Humanitarian of the Year Award for promoting human welfare and striving to improve the human condition.