17-year-old aims to deliver 160 backpacks to help local homeless residents

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Meet 17-year-old Alexa Rhodes, a junior at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia.

Rhodes is on a mission with the help of 51 of her peers grades 5 through 8 to fill 160 sturdy backpacks filled with needy supplies for the city's homeless residents.

Some of these supplies include: Toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizers, wipes, soap, eating utensils, wash clothes, shower shoes, and underwear.

"I started my business last year in a business class at my school, and I've been doing it ever since," said Rhodes.

The goal is to donate these essential bags to the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission on Thursday, April 22, as the need to help the homeless population has grown more vital amid the pandemic.

While Rhodes began this project in 2020 through her school's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, it has only grown as her passion to serve those in need continues to bloom.

"I've made two different drop-offs. One to the Broad Street Ministry, and another one to the Covenant House (Pennsylvania.) One was back in October, and the other was back in January," added Rhodes. "A lot of kids don't understand the importance of volunteering and just giving back to the community.

Rhodes says giving back that has always been something stressed to her while growing up.

Her teacher Edward Glassman, who is the executive director of The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, says he couldn't be more proud of Rhodes' leadership through this initiative.

"We're the only school in the world, with a pre-K to 12 designed engineering and entrepreneurship program," said Glassman. "So what's so special about a day like today is we have a young woman like Alexa who has developed this amazing nonprofit over several years."

Glassman adds she is bringing that mission to life with the help of middle school students who are also going through similar entrepreneurship programs.

Despite the program's growth, Rhodes still says her overall goal is simple.

"It's basically to inspire other people to lend out a helping hand," she said.
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