Spreading Kindness: One Bag at a Time

Aidans giving bag initiative

Courtasy of Aidan's Instagram

A group of students volunteering to hand out bags for Aidan’s giving bag initative.

Rebecca Maritano, Staff Reporter

Portland’s homelessness problem is very prominent and in need of some kindness. There are around 15,876 homeless individuals in Portland as of 2021. Junior Aidan Ionis has started an organization dedicated to helping those struggling in Portland. 

Aidan’s Giving Bag Initiative started in April 2021 when founder, Ionis, wanted to give back to other people and see what he could do to help in the community. “I make small care packages that are bags that are made for people experiencing homlessness in the Portland Metro Area.” His bags include: sardines, vienna sausages, granola bars, chips, and various hygiene products. 

The helpfulness and kindness doesn’t stop with Ionis and his volunteers. Each bag contains a smaller brown bag, with the same items, labeled “give me to a friend” In hopes that whoever receives a giving bag will pass on the kindness by giving the other one to someone else in need. Currently the Giving Bag Initiative has given bags and helped hundreds in the Portland metro area. 

Passing out bags hasn’t just impacted the community, it has also impacted Aidan himself. “Last time I was delivering bags, one of the guys was riding a bike, he took a bag and said “Christmas came early.” “He was smiling and was so happy, it made me feel good”

It is very easy to get involved and become a volunteer. Whether it’s donating time by volunteering to help put bags together and going out to buy supplies with Ionis. Or donating money through gofundme, to help with the cost of making bags, and what goes into them. To keep things in order, Ionis is currently using funds to buy the supplies himself so he doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much. 

“My goal is to continue what I’m doing with the kindness of the community. I really do think real change can be seen. I plan on working with other organizations to see what we all can do. If we can take steps to help this problem and do better, that would be the ultimate goal.”

Seeing people in the community reach out and volunteer means everything to Ionis “That’s the greatest accomplishment, because I get to see other people who have the same values and interests as me help impact other people.” He goes on to say “I appreciate the community’s support, it’s not me who’s doing all this, it’s the community, they are donating and supporting.”

You can see more of Aidan’s work and get in contact with him through his instagram: aidansgivingbaginitiative