Local paraglider, merchant-services consultant and all-around do-gooder Eric Karnezis, who grew up, as he put it, "on the streets of Virginia," is at it again.
"It’s time for our annual 2020 Blessing Bags for the Homeless!" Karnezis recently posted on a new GoFundMe. "This year we want to get over 100 bags made to pass out all over San Diego to the homeless and anyone else in need."
"I did spend two years homeless on the streets," Karnezis told NBC 7 on Wednesday. "I have a twin brother, and we were afraid social services were going to separate us and we would never see each other again. We didn't want to lose each other. We had already lost everything else."
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Karnezis never forgot what it was like those two years, and how much help he could have used.
"What I remember the most was certain nights I would shiver so hard that I would literally think that my lower back was going to snap in half," Karnezis said.
Karnezis posted the plea for funding early in November, and in the two weeks since then, 40 donors have contributed more than $3,000, closing in on twice the goal of the project.
Unfortunately for Karnezis and his crew of helpers, they're going to need 162 bags so far, which will be laden with the following (which are 100% biodegradable products, if possible):
- Wet wipes
- Winter socks
- Emergency blankets
- Bottle of filtered water
- Emergen-C powder packs
- Bag of quarters (amount depending on how much money is raised; ideally, $4 worth)
- Snack bars
Karnezis -- who put his money where his mouth is and kicked in $300 himself, as did his brother, Anthony -- is hoping to complete the GoFundMe by Friday in order to shop and get the bags together in time to hand them out for Thanksgiving.
"I'm gonna get up early and work out an outdoor workout and then we're going to all get together and hand out these bags all over San Diego," Karnezis said when asked how we would spend the holiday next week.
"There are thousands of homeless people in San Diego that need our help," Karnezis said on the post. "Any donation amount is the perfect amount. Also, there are currently only [six] of us, so if you want to donate your time instead of your money, we would greatly appreciate that too."
The GoFundMe request ends by hitting the perfect holiday high notes: "Let’s make Thanksgiving this year memorable for those that have no one to celebrate with. Love is contagious."