It’s fairly common to hear about seasoned CEOs and company leaders and their successful business and nonprofit ventures. It’s not every day, though, that one of these success stories comes from the mind of a high school sophomore.
Such is the case, though, for the burgeoning nonprofit Love Rolls, and its founder, Atlanta High School student Kendall Robinson.
What started as a project for the 2015 Youth Summit quickly turned into a passion project for Robinson, as she saw firsthand the difficulties Atlanta’s homeless population endured while living on the street. While handing out goods, including toilet paper, at the Atlanta Community Food Bank, she encountered a homeless man who confided in her his need for the item.
“He was so grateful to receive it because normally he would have to ration out one roll for one month,” Robinson said. “I was completely shocked.” This simple request for an item so often taken for granted sparked an idea for Robinson. Since then, the group has transformed from a small coalition of Robinson’s family and friends to a collaboration with large donor organizations, including Procter and Gamble (Charmin), Kimberly-Clark (Scott Brand), and even Chick-fil-A.
Distributing more than 100,000 rolls of toilet paper to Atlanta’s homeless population, Love Rolls has started a movement for the community, holding toilet paper drives and filling up a warehouse space to store the rolls for distribution.
Individuals can either come to the warehouse for pick-up or come to one of the many outreach events where Love Rolls hands out the toilet paper.
Love Rolls has also extended beyond the Atlanta-metro area, and has made multiple out-of-state distributions, to Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey, to name a few. Their goal for 2017 is to make even more trips outside of Atlanta to distribute the toilet paper.
The organization has helped countless individuals, but Robinson said one specific man, whom she met during a distribution at Hurt Park, left an impression.
“He said ‘Finally, somebody thought that we might need this,’” she remembered. “It made me realize that I am out here doing the right thing and I am helping people, and they are grateful for what they are receiving.”
Robinson says she couldn’t do the work without all the support from her family and friends. Love Rolls was only supposed to be a one-week drive, but turned into something much bigger. The word of mouth and community support have also enabled the organization to host their recent fundraising 5K, which included fun and games for participants, raffles and door prizes, and food trucks and a movie viewing.
“It was only because of the help of family and friends and getting the word out,” she said.
For more information on the organization, including how to volunteer or donate, individuals can visit www.loverolls.org.