A year ago, 11-year-old Daeveon Deshields decided to do something for the area's homeless.
“I didn't like seeing people holding signs that said, 'I will work for food,'” he said.
He didn't like knowing that some people don't have warm clothes or basic toiletries that most people take for granted, either.
Daeveon said he still sees them when he goes to Walmart and at other locations near Rehoboth Beach, but now at least he's done something to help them.
With a goal of stuffing 1,000 one-gallon Ziploc bags with toiletries and cold-weather items, Daeveon placed four boxes at Beacon Middle School in November to collect as many items as he could. Announcements over the school intercom reminded students to bring in soap, toothpaste, gloves, socks, hats and other hygiene products for Project H.O.O.P. – Helping Out Other People.
“When it first started I saw people looking at the boxes, like they were unsure,” Daeveon said. “But then they brought items in. It took about two weeks to fill them up.”
Donations of mostly soap, shampoo and lotion helped Daeveon put together nearly 900 care packages. Following a speech he gave to Bethany Christian Church, he collected enough items to beat his goal.
“I didn't think we'd get to 1,000,” he said. “I felt amazing when I reached my goal. It was astonishing for me.”
In total, he collected enough items for 1,115 care packages. Daeveon, with the help of his grandfather Diaz Bonville, passed out the care packages to homeless shelters in the area and also to Open Hands and Soup Ministry in Rehoboth Beach.
As he finishes his year-long project, Daeveon said he is already thinking about the next one.
For 2017, he said, his goal is to collect a canned good each day – 365 total. The canned goods can be just about anything – vegetables, fruit, soup or, his favorite, SpaghettiOs.
“We're very confident we'll be able to raise the cans,” Bonville said.
When not working on a project, Daeveon is a typical sixth-grade boy, who is into technology and robots.
He also loves science – all the intricacies of the body and learning about different states of matter.
He already knows he wants to go to University of Oregon, where he hopes to be part of the school's competitive VEX robotics team.
“I want to be on the world champion VEX robotics team,” he states proudly.