A faith-based group of local students will be making their second trip to Fort Worth this weekend to bring food and clothing to homeless people.
They plan to load up food and supplies Sunday morning at Stonewater Church’s Glen Rose campus, and head for downtown Fort Worth.
Remarkably, the group — consisting mostly of freshman boys who attend Glen Rose High School — was not created or organized by adults. The idea first came to GRHS freshman Garrett Stivers. Later a church friend of his, Zac Evans, also started to take a leadership role in making the project a reality.
“It’s youth-led,” said Zac Evans’ mother, Shawn Evans. “It’s something the boys are passionate about. It’s just as life-changing for the boys as it is for the homeless people.
“They just get in the car and start driving. They’re not looking for people who are begging. Some of them are hiding under bridges and in the trees. Last month our goal was (to help) 25 to 30. This time they are trying to do 50 to 60.”
In addition to Stivers and Evans, the core group currently includes Stephenville-area resident Cade Davis along with GRHS freshmen Blake Perry, Bradley Hunt, Calvin Cunningham, Gabe Williamson, Garett Davis, Ricky De La Garza, Cameron Kirby, Danny Vasquez and Mason Miller.
Cade Davis lives in the Three Way community, and is a freshman at Stephenville High School. Zac Evans, a freshman who is home-schooled, lives with his parents just west of Glen Rose.
The group made its first trip to Fort Worth on Oct. 28, and the plan is to return about once a month.
Two adult supervisors, Ben Evans and Fred Ibarra, drive the boys to their destination and also make first contact with the people they find to make sure the situation is safe.
“The boys are all very supervised,” Shawn said. “Everything’s in pairs, in groups. The parents are very supportive. It’s a very humbling, gracious feeling that comes back with these boys — not judgmental. They get to hear the other side of the picture. Not everything is what you hear. The homeless are very happy to share their stories.”
Ben added, “Anything we’ve done (as the adult supervisors) is just to facilitate, but this is not adult-driven.”
Stivers said the idea first came to him about three years ago when prayer requests were being given at the church.
“I was looking for a way to help, and I found an opportunity to do something,” Stivers said.
“Garrett said, ‘I think we should help the homeless,’ “ Ben said.
The boys bring sack lunches containing sandwiches, fruit and bottled water. They also hand out clothing as well as blankets, backpacks and personal hygiene products.
Zac Evans bought 30 Bibles with his own money, to be distributed to the homeless people they come in contact with. Often the contact sessions end in prayer — sometimes led by the homeless people themselves.
Currently they are using a horse trailer that belongs to the Evans family, but they hope to eventually obtain a more suitable method for transporting the food and supplies.
“I want to grow this enough that it’s a common thing,” Zac said. “Eventually, we want to make it bigger than our group — a bigger thing to help more people.”
Shawn said that anyone interested in either donating or volunteering to help the cause can reach her by calling 972-948-3581.
Ben, Shawn and Zac Evans had been involved in reaching out to help homeless people in Waxahachie before they moved to Somervell County a couple of years ago.
“The goal is to get to know the homeless, to minister to them — to get personal and reach out to them,” Shawn said. “What the boys have discovered is that most of these homeless people are former military, and just struggled to fit in after coming home.”
The motivation for the boys is a spiritual one, stemming from their Christian faith. Although all of the boys attend the church, it’s not an official program of Stonewater Church. Both Ben Evans and Ibarra are youth leaders at the church’s Glen Rose campus.
“Our goal is to connect with other churches,” Shawn said. “It’s not sponsored by the church.”
Another goal is an internal one within the group. As Ibarra explained, a hope is that the boys involved will “become spiritual leaders the Lord has created them to be.”
Ben added, “Our goal is for them to grow up to know what it is to serve.”