“Act on it”: this girl empowers others her age to help people in any way that they can.

Khloe Thompson from Irvine, California, was raised by her mother and her grandmother. From a young age, she was taught to be kind and compassionate to others.

Her mother and her grandmother encouraged her thoughtful and inquisitive nature. And though Khloe was a beacon of positivity, as she grew older, her curious nature led her to question the injustices of the world.

Khloe was only eight years old when she asked her mother why there were people sleeping on the street. There was one homeless person in particular that Khloe passed every day. 

“Her name was Michelle,” Khloe says matter-of-factly.  

After Khloe’s mother had a talk with her about homelessness, the eight-year-old could no longer bear to simply pass Michelle on the street every day.

“When someone needs help,” she insists, “you’re not just going to walk by them and do nothing. You’re gonna act on it.

Khloe Kare Bags for the Homeless

shacks on the roadside
Photo by Chris John

The young girl did what was in her power to do, making bags and stuffing them with things she thought the women and children she saw on the street might need: toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, underwear, soap and feminine hygiene products.

With youthful enthusiasm, she delivered the 25 bags she had made before realizing she would need to make many, many more. The need in her community was so great. 

Inspired by Khloe’s work ethic and conviction, her mother and grandmother helped her set up a nonprofit organization, which they named Khloe Kares.

As a registered nonprofit, they could collect donations and make even more of the Khloe Kare Bags. But Khloe wasn’t satisfied just raising money. She wanted to hand deliver each of the bags and talk with the women.

What Will Really Help People

“You’re actually there and you’re showing that you care,” she says. Khloe insists that the one-on-one connection is the most important. She listens to their stories, tells them hers — and often, just making eye contact with the recipients of her bags and giving them a hug is interaction they haven’t had in a long, long time. 

Khloe says meeting the neediest people in her community makes her happy, too. “I’m here and I want to be here.” She calls the happy feelings she experiences when she connects with someone her “smile money.”

When people heard about Khloe’s efforts, her initiative went viral. Schools and community groups across the United States started asking her to come and speak to them. She was just 10 years old yet she was speaking in front of hundreds of people.

Khloe’s main message was always this: “You can be what you want to be because nothing can stop you.” She wants to make sure that kids her age know that they are capable of making a difference.

Spreading the Love

"spread love" on a window
Photo by Brett Sayles

Khloe had spoken to many young people across the country when she received a heartfelt invitation from across the globe. A small group calling themselves “The Sunday Morning Girls” begged her to visit them in Ghana. Khloe was both excited and nervous.

When she arrived in the girls’ village, Khloe was entertained with an elaborate welcome ceremony. She was shown all around the village. Khloe had never been somewhere without running water. She was surprised to see girls her age responsible for making dinner.

“It’s very different from how I live,” she said. But when the girls started telling Khloe about their dreams for the future — to become doctors, pilots — she started to find things they had in common: “A lot of them want to help people, and also, I like to help people, so we do have some things in common.”

In a country where opportunities for women are often limited, a young girl speaking to an audience about how to follow their dreams was a phenomenon. Khloe led the children in creating vision boards to inspire themselves and to help set goals.

“Anything’s possible when you put your mind to it,” she reminded them.

Recognized for Her Efforts

When Khloe won a Points of Light Award in 2019, she saw Khloe Kares grow and help even more people.

Natalye Paquin is the president and CEO of Points of Light, an organization that supports nonprofits. “There is a seismic shift that occurs when someone in need is cared for,” she explained, “and with every Kare Bag she delivers, Khloe is driving transformative change in her community and lighting the path for people of all ages to step forward and say, ‘I can help.’”

It’s high praise for the girl from California who saw a need in her community and stepped up to fill it. “Never let your age stop you from being the next changemaker,” she says proudly.

If Khloe could have one wish, it would be that homelessness didn’t exist. “Everybody deserves a place where they feel safe,” she says with tears in her eyes. In the meantime, she’ll continue to deliver her Khloe Kare Bags in person, exchanging items that might make a person’s life a little easier for “smile money.”

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