Student uses $ 600 of money from her unused meal plan to feed and care for homeless community in St. Louis
At first, Nepos decided to challenge her nearly 330,000 followers on TikTok to see how quickly she could spend the $ 600 in two days from her campus store. Nepos had amassed a large following as a self-proclaimed creator of social justice and political advocacy.
Nepos bought snacks at a campus market, but soon realized that she couldn’t eat all the food. She has started giving it to those who need it.
Nepos created care packages that she personally delivered to homeless people in St Louis, adding masks and hand sanitizer to protect against Covid.
Nepos hand-delivered around 40 packages to people in need during the first two days of his trip. She documented her deliveries and the video went viral, with over 7 million views, according to Nepos’ TikTok account.
She tried to make sure the packaging included non-perishable foods that could be easily consumed.
“I tried to be more aware of their situation and be realistic about the resources they (the homeless) had with them,” she said.
Nepos followers have started donating money to Nepos electronically through Venmo and PayPal to help them create and deliver more care packages.
A total of $ 746 was awarded. Nepos bought packaged fruits and vegetables, other non-perishable foods, and even feminine products such as tampons.
“In fact, I was so focused on trying to maximize donations and finding deals on non-perishable food items that I actually forgot to buy my own groceries that day,” he said. said Nepos.
In six days, Nepos herself delivered approximately 80 to 100 packages to the community of St. Louis.
She said experience had shown her that “you can make a big difference in the life of one person with little.”
She became friends with Darryl
During his deliveries, Nepos befriended a homeless individual, Darryl, who also became popular on Nepos’ TikTok.
Nepos met Darryl at a busy intersection in St. Louis on the first day of his deliveries. He is 52 years old, has two children and also has diabetes. Darryl is looking for a job, especially in the service industry, Nepos said.
“He’s just the nicest man. We had the most immediate bond of friendship. We’re really good friends now,” said Nepos.
Nepos ran out of packages for Darryl on her second day of delivery, so she bought him a Shake Shack burger and fries.
Darryl’s story is so tied to Nepos TikTok followers that they donated money to purchase Darryl gift cards at stores such as Subway. They even donated enough money to buy Darryl a phone to help him with his job search.
Nepos said she even convinced Darryl to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Darryl wasn’t sure at first, but he agreed to get the shot if Nepos joined him on that date, she said.
“Darryl is looking for a job, it was difficult for him to contact employers without a phone,” or to coordinate interviews with employers because they had no way of contacting him.
Darryl also needed a phone number to sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine, Nepos said.
Nepos says criminalization of homelessness must end
Nepos said cities are offering “creative ways to make laws to stop begging and make homelessness illegal.”
“There is a push to criminalize homelessness, rather than empathizing with support systems. We need to decriminalize homelessness, (and) add more support systems and not more support systems. punishment, ”she said.
Nepos said she believes the government should fund and run more programs to support homeless people like Darryl.
“Darryl does not have access to transport, to a social security card, to the Internet. There are barriers to getting out of homelessness,” she said.
“Stepping stones” programs are difficult for the homeless to access due to barriers such as lack of transportation, she said.
“There needs to be more active community engagement. Instead of sitting around in the building and saying that the homeless can come here and get help if they need it, (they) need to be proactive and lend a helping hand, ”said Nepos.
Nepos obtained a major in psychology and a minor in marketing. She said she was looking for a job.