“It looked really, really cold. They didn't have anything to cover them, and it was this time of year. I thought, ‘What can I do to keep them warm?’ and blankets just came to mind,” said Jon Jackson.
Jackson’s idea four years ago has now flourished into a charity called “Keep Yinz Warm.”
The ambitious and caring 16-year-old takes in donations of warm weather gear at six locations in Western Pennsylvania, and delivers them twice a week to the homeless.
Gloves and socks are a big need right now, but blankets are still the most popular.
“They do like blankets because they can lay on them. It keeps them dry. It keeps them warm,” Jackson said.
The homeless population in Pittsburgh is estimated at more than 2,000. When winter temperatures are this brutally cold, it's particularly dangerous for them.
“I am homeless. I am trying to do the best I can. But these guys down here and they are very helpful to us who are less fortunate,” said Curtis Davis as he picked up a blanket.
Channel 11’s Peggy Finnegan caught up with Jackson last week as he was picking up items in Cranberry Township. He says the donations have been pouring in since Channel 11 News first reported on his organization earlier this month.
Finnegan asked the Mars junior how he keeps up with his homework, and he says he fits it in when he can.
“It's all about helping them. As long as I am helping them, I definitely feel good inside and that's what it's all about,” Jackson said.
To learn more about Keep Yinz Warm or to make a donation, check KEEP YINZ WARM ON FACEBOOK.
Local teen's efforts to "Keep Yinz Warm" helps area homeless survive bitter cold
ONLY 11 talks to former student of inmate accused of murder plot
Fire at abandoned Export home under investigation
11 Investigates: Penn Hills district finances under investigation by grand jury
House GOP abruptly pulls health care bill