Former Homeless Man Celebrates His Birthday By Giving To Others

People say we cannot fully understand someone until we’ve been in their shoes, and Rashawn Higgs has. On Nov. 18, Higgs turned 25 and decided to celebrate his birthday by helping others and passing out clothes and food to homeless people in Detroit. He knew how they felt, for he’d been homeless in the past.

“My whole point of this was, for everybody, on their birthday, to actually give something out to somebody else less fortunate.”

In this case, Higgs spent over $300 on thrift store clothes and made a few hundred sandwiches, then distributed them. “One of the most simplest things we can do is make a sandwich… It takes nothing but a second at home to make a sandwich.”

Higgs said that, sometimes, homeless people don’t see a way out. He wanted to help them like someone once helped him: his stepbrother, with a job at Kroger. Ever since, he’s worked steadily.

“That’s what he’s doing for his birthday, that is sweet,” said onlooker Maudka McCrory. “He has a big heart.”

soup kitchen photo
Photo by LindsayT…


Fourteen-year-old Shelby Fouchey wanted to help Higgs and left school to do so. “…It’s a nice thing, you know? Nobody has stuff and it’s nice to give away when you have it to give away.”

So, the next time you’re out in the cold, remember that several others are, too, and may not have the same warm coat or blanket that you do.

Whether you give out food and clothes like Higgs or team up with another organization out there, like Project Warm Us (who gives warm articles of clothing and blankets to the homeless) or Ugly Quilts (who makes emergency sleeping bag for homeless people), homelessness is a worldwide problem.

In L.A. on Nov. 17, the City Council voted—unanimously—to offer shelter for the homeless via public buildings and parking lots. With over 26,000 people assumed to be homeless there, this was a huge decision. What will your decision be, today, when you encounter a homeless person?

For more on Higgs’s project, he started a Facebook page, called Let’s help the world.

In addition, you can watch KTVU’s video here: