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This entrepreneur in San Francisco has been spending all of his free time working to bring free solar power to the unhoused so that they can charge their mobile devices. Zac Clark is a senior at the University of San Francisco, and for the last year and a half, he has been working with investors, securing funds, and testing prototype after prototype, all to bring solar to those who need it the most.
Source: KPIX CBS SF Bay Area/YouTube
CBS News reported that Clark has now about to launch his product, but he won’t make a penny from it, no matter how successful it is. He is planning on giving away all of his inventory.
“We’re really anticipating a good response but, of course, you never know until you actually do it,” he said.
Clark first had the idea to help those in need with solar when he got an apartment in the Tenderloin District of San Fransico. This area has some of the highest levels of homelessness in the city.
“Seeing this being a way of life in a city that has so much wealth — and not just wealth but innovation and creativity — I wanted to use some of that creativity and innovation for something meaningful,” Clark said.
He and his friends came up with an idea for a backpack that comes with a sleeping bag, a flashlight, and a radio, as well as a list of services for those living on the streets. They called it the Makeshift Traveler. The design has a solar panel that is used specifically to charge mobile devices.
Clark got a much bigger reception than he was anticipating. Although he won’t accept money from the homeless for his backpack, he will accept other forms of payment. When Clark gave a backpack to Wendell McKay, he was so grateful he offered to play Clark a song. Clark was emotional and took in the moment.
“To be honest, I’m still at an all-time high right now,” he said. “I have yet to process it but I know that, once we get home later today, it’s going to be pretty emotional.”
The backpacks cost about $100 to make, and so far, Clark has delivered nearly 500 of them to those in need. This is truly an amazing product and a great way to help the community.
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