His very first video about making a low-cost meal garnered over 24.7 million views and the subsequent videos raked in millions of views as well.
Homelessness is a real problem in America. On any given night, there are an estimated 553,742 people in the United States experiencing homelessness. Further, about 34,210 unaccompanied youth are counted as homeless on a single night. Most of them are between the age of 18-24 and the remaining are below the age of 18, as per the National Alliance to End Homelessness. There are innumerable reasons why someone ends up without a roof over their head. But more often than not it is family conflict or poverty. But the survival instincts are strong among the youth and the resourceful ones always find a way to make it work.
55% of people say they worry about hunger and homelessness in America during Pandemic Year 2— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) March 26, 2021
It’s the first time in 20 years that a majority of survey participants said they worried about people having access to food and shelterhttps://t.co/sjd6xTGgxJ @AndrewKeshner
One homeless teen decided to get on TikTok and share his life hacks. Zeemer goes by the TikTok handle randomhomelessguy2. He makes animations and other than TikTok, he also has a YouTube channel where he shares his work. His very first TikTok was about how he manages to cook his meals despite being homeless. The video has been viewed a whopping 24.7 million times already. He decided to make it a series where he shares his simple recipes that are also cost-effective. All the videos seem to be popular and have raked in millions of views.
In the video, titled "How I cook as a homeless teen," he shows how he sets up everything for cooking his meals in a local park. The park is equipped with power outlets and has drinking water fountains which he uses. He has invested in a stove from Walmart that costs $15 that he plugs into the public power outlet. He also has a pot that he purchased for $3 from the 99 cent store. He uses a bottle to collect water from the water fountain. For the video, he decided to prepare spaghetti with sausages. His ingredients, which included raw noodles, sausage, and the sauce, were a dollar each.
Just as you would cook the meal at home, he did at the park. He brought the water to a boil and added the noodles split in half. After draining the water, he added the sauce and the sausages that were cut into pieces. He served the food for himself at a park bench in plastic cutlery. He has a few more videos like this. In the next video, he makes ramen noodles that he eats with bread. In another video, the teen has a bigger budget which lets him buy more food. He purchases French bread, chicken meat, Takis, a Gatorade, and an apple for a total of $5.74. He used the bread to make a sandwich. He cut the bread in half and placed the chicken meat on it. On top of this, he placed the Takis to finish the sandwich, with a side of extra Takis. He coupled this meal with the apple and Gatorade.
While the comments for the boy were filled with concern by some people, others were skeptical about the authenticity of the videos. Some even left comments demanding to know how he could afford a phone with internet if he was homeless among other questions. Zeemer had to make another video to clarify these questions. He explained that he has an iPhone 11 that his mom bought for him at the beginning of 2020 before they became homeless. It has been his most cherished item that he has ever owned. As for his data, his mother paid the bill with unlimited data. He also clarified that he understood everyone's concern and was not upset at being questioned. He, in turn, thanked everyone for their kind words but refused to accept any financial help. Instead, he asked people to follow him and support his work on YouTube and Instagram.