Meet the 9-year-old who created a foundation to assist homeless individuals in St. Louis

The nonprofit organization has given about 10,000 brown paper bag meals to homeless people and shelters in the downtown St. Louis metro area since it was founded four years ago. Photo Credit: ABC News

At the age of five, Paris Williams decided to start her own foundation, the Paris Cares Foundation, after hearing her kindergarten teacher read the book “One Boy’s Magic” by Cari Chadwick Deal.

“In the book, a boy wanted to change the world, and that was his superpower. He gave a bag of food to someone experiencing homelessness, and I came home that day and told my parents that I wanted to do that. I wanted to make a difference and a change,” Paris told St. Louis Today.

In an effort to understand the thoughts behind the Paris Cares Foundation better, Paris’ mother, Alicia Suber, encouraged her daughter to talk more about what she was considering.

“She had it all mapped out,” Suber recalled. “She was like, she wants to get brown (paper) bags from the store and decorate them with positive messages. She wanted to fill them with these types of items and she wants to give them out to the homeless in the area.”

The young philanthropist needed supplies, so Suber took her to the supermarket. Paris can’t quite recall everything they bought on their first trip, but the nonprofit organization has given about 10,000 brown paper bag meals to homeless people and shelters in the St. Louis metro area in the last four years – since it was founded.

The initial needs were mainly limited to small, tasty meals that wouldn’t spoil quickly. Their method of filling bags is largely unchanged today.

Each bag is filled with goodies; occasionally with socks, toothbrushes, and deodorant; in the winter, gloves and hand warmers are added; it is then decorated with a special message inspired by Paris Williams, using markers to draw vibrant scenes and uplifting statements.

Once the bags are full, they are distributed to homeless individuals in the downtown St. Louis metropolitan area, as well as shelters.

“This little kindergartener, Paris, is making a big difference in the world” Chadwick Deal, the author of the book that had such a profound impact on Paris, wrote in a social media post from 2019.  “… So proud of her and her huge heart! And for getting the message that “One Boy’s Magic” is all about.”

The 9-year-old founder has appeared on “Good Morning America,” has been interviewed on i Heart Radio, and highlighted on the American Girl website.

She shared that “Most people probably think it’s hard work and kind of feels like a job, but it doesn’t feel like a job, It just feels like something I choose to do. I just know I’m helping people and that just makes me happy. It doesn’t feel like a job because I really enjoy it.”

Paris also noted that she really wants the foundation to expand beyond St. Louis because even though she’s helping people there, she’s concerned about those who live elsewhere. “I’m hoping we can find a way to expand it to more places,” she said.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: July 19, 2023


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