Youth recognized for work helping homeless people

East Mountain resident Jayden Allen is 12 years old and was honored in the Roundhouse Thursday for his work helping the homeless. He makes “care packages” that include food, water, socks, hats, gloves and hand warmers for homeless people in Albuquerque. 

Allen said he has been making the packages and handing them out to people on street corners and in parks for three years. It “helps them know there’s still hope,” he said.

Jayden Allen. Photo by Thomas Campbell.

People donate to his cause but “when I run out of donations, I use my own money to buy it, because I work for tips,” Allen said. His parents own Trail Rider Pizza in Cedar Crest.

“I would definitely want to make it into a community thing,” he said. “Whenever I find a permanent home, like a shop where people could just come in all the time, like a homeless shelter, especially in the winter when there’re winds blowing and it’s snowing and blizzarding outside.”

He said he sometimes sees homeless people in the East Mountains and gives them help too. And for children, he said, “I have really small gloves and hats. And one thing I want to start giving out … is shoes.”

“I feel like I should be doing this,” Allen said, adding, “I have incredible compassion because I’m vegan and I help save animals instead of letting them be slaughtered. They are living beings and they have the right to live too, they have feelings.” he said.

Asked if he always felt this way, he said, “Not really. My parents taught me to treat everybody with love and kindness, no matter how sad or grumpy they are. It might brighten their day and they might change their attitude.”

He said his parents are trying to create a non-profit but he’s still thinking of a name for it.

A student at Estancia Valley Classical Academy, Allen skipped a grade. The 7th-grader wants to go to Hillsdale College, which the charter school is affiliated with.