Our Kind of People

Couch-surfing Slidell man wants to fill backpacks for homeless

COURTESY AARON WYATT 
 Pay It Forward For The South gives homeless men and women in the Southern region backpacks filled with necessities.
COURTESY AARON WYATT Pay It Forward For The South gives homeless men and women in the Southern region backpacks filled with necessities.

SLIDELL -- Aaron Wyatt hasn't always had a home, but he's always had a place to lay his head. And the 23-year-old, who lived in Bay St. Louis before 2005's Hurricane Katrina, is trying to make life easier for those who have to sleep on the street.

Wyatt created Pay It Forward For The South, a fundraising initiative to purchase necessities for homeless men and women in the region.

"I've had my own experiences in being impoverished in a way, so I have a lot of empathy (for the homeless)," he said.

Wyatt is staying at friends' houses at the moment.

"Currently, I do not have a home for myself, but I do have things to offer for other people," he said. "I feel like I'm in a better spot than those on the street.

"It doesn't compute in my brain to see a society as wealthy as we are, and we still have homelessness."

Wyatt and several of his friends are taking monetary donations to buy supplies to fill backpacks with necessities such as water, underwear, T-shirts and personal-care items. Wyatt scouts the area for those in need and delivers the backpacks.

He said he hopes to soon organize a drive at local schools to collect used backpacks.

If his initiative takes off, he said, he'd like to be able to afford to buy some people prepaid cell phones.

Pay It Forward For The South has a GoFundMe.com page to raise money Wyatt hopes to use to stockpile supplies. He said he's also made a connection with a Slidell thrift store that will allow him to store excess supplies.

"I just want to reach out to homeless people throughout the South so they realize there is hope," he said. "We are trying to get them help."

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