Summer of Service: 14-year-old helps people transition from homelessness

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD)- When it’s summer break, most kids spend their time relaxing. There’s a few special young members of the community who chose to spend their summer breaks giving back to those in need and all week we are featuring them during News 2 Today.

We start off with one young man who was cooking meals for the homeless and decided that just wasn’t enough.

 

At least once a month, you can find 14-year-old John Michael Stagliano over a hot stove, but not because he’s an aspiring chef.

He says, “I had to learn. I don’t really cook that much besides this.”

He’s cooking meals for the Summerville men’s shelter, Home of Hope. One day, he was delivering meals and discovered something troubling.

Stagliano says, “We learned they don’t have anything when they move out, so the first people that moved out, they didn’t have anything but a mattress.”

So he cooked up his next idea, called Home Again.

Stagliano says, “So we decided to get furniture donated by family, friends, and neighbors and we help furnish their home.”

He says the homeless people are working hard to secure a roof over their heads, but it’s not a home until the furniture arrives.

Stagliano says, “They’re always really happy with whatever they can get.”

He helped to completely furnish the home of Teddy Russell, who has been working for years to turn his life around.

Russell says, “I worked pretty good and when I finished building the Boeing plant, there wasn’t any work and I kind of lost everything. I was homeless and I started drinking too much and I just about gave up on myself. I ran into some good people who had faith in me and I just had to quit drinking and regroup.”

John Michael met Teddy while at the Home of Hope, when Teddy was saving for his apartment. John Michael put in more than 200 hours this summer helping 22 other people transitioning from homelessness.

He says, “They need help and there’s not a lot a lot of people who are doing this right now and for me being a 14-year-old to do it, it’s making a lot of difference.”

John Michael says if you want to donate, the items they need the most are mattresses, dressers, and kitchen tables and chairs. He says they can also always use more movers, especially if you have your own truck. For more information about how to help John Michael and Home Again, head to their Facebook page, here.

 

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