Kids Who Shine: Ethan Hill

9-year-old from Birmingham impacts the city’s homeless with backpacks and more

by Jeana Durst
Content Director, JBMC Media
Photos courtesy of the Hill family

Some kids save up their Christmas money to purchase ways to level up on their video games or go shopping for the latest fads. Not Ethan Hill.

Ethan Hill is a 9-year-old student at Phillips Academy in Birmingham.

At the age of 6, he took notice of a group of homeless people gathered under a downtown bridge as he rode with his mom to Phillips Academy every morning. In particular, he and his mother noticed one man that his mother remembered spotting living under this bridge when she went to school, 28 years ago. Many people would have just kept on driving past them without another thought.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

But Hill decided to take action—he researched what kind of supplies are most useful to the homeless population and then used his Christmas money to purchase survival buckets to deliver to the bridge community. Along the way, he struck up a friendship with the man whom he and his mom noticed. By the next year, he began to deliver sleeping bags as well.

As his efforts grew, so did his impact. By Christmas of 2019, Hill organized a nationwide fundraiser that raised around $8,000 to create 200 care packages and to provide sleeping bags for 150. On December 22, he handed these out at Linn Park, inside neon green tote bags. Often on cold or wet nights, his parents and he drive the streets at sunset, handing out remaining totes and sleeping bags to those they find living on the streets.

Ethan stands in Linn Park in Birmingham with supplies he has purchased for the city’s homeless population.

Currently, Hill, who has been selected by the Duke Tip Talent Search Group and plays on the Highland Park PGA Junior Golf Team, plans to continue to deliver more care and comfort around the holidays, making it his mission to connect personally with the individuals he serves.

For more information, visit his Facebook page.

To donate:
Cash App: $Ethansheart


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