Kade Johnson needed an Eagle Scout project. His family of five wanted to do service. Everyone sought that soul satisfying feeling you get when you are involved in something meaningful. Direct HOPE of Houston, Texas provided the means to the all those ends.
Direct HOPE has been operating for 2 years providing a Sunday meal to Houston’s homeless, and focusing on helping people build better lives so that they can get off the streets and integrate back into the community as productive citizens, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Johnson, a scout with Troop 985 of The Legends Ward, Spring Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saw the Direct HOPE organizers’ post about a planned all-out celebration for Father’s Day and decided that would be the project he and his family could join. Johnson organized and collected backpacks filled with necessities donated by several LDS churches and Oak Ridge high school.
“My project was a really cool experience in service for me. It was awesome to see the physical good I was doing by helping supply Direct HOPE with materials for the homeless. In particular, I especially enjoyed helping distribute both the materials I had collected and the shoes and homeless kits that the non-profit was also giving to the homeless. It was great to see that the work I had done put a smile on their faces,” Johnson said.
One of the homeless men came to the line wearing no socks and dress shoes. He left with new running shoes and a new backpack. While going through the new-found belongings he focused on a pen with several feet of duct tape wrapped around it. He excitedly asked, “Whose idea was this? This is the best idea! I have chills all over.”
Kade learned that to the homeless, duct tape is the equivalent to a swiss army knife. It has so many uses to them. Sometimes a seemingly small, thoughtful effort can have an unexpectedly large impact.
The Direct HOPE website shared gratitude for the scouts, Doing Our Part food truck, dozens of Direct HOPE volunteers and families who arrived with food, new clothes, toiletries and backpacks. Other groups and organizations made it possible to serve 223 homeless people, many of whom are fathers who were able to share stories and photographs of their own children, filling this Father’s Day with happy hearts.
Brant Johnson, Kade’s father commented. “This is an excellent organization with people who truly care for the homeless in a hands-on way. We felt grateful to be part of the day providing service and help to care for the poor and needy.”
“There are lots of great organizations doing good – just find one and do something meaningful. It doesn’t have to be blazing new trails or changing the world. Just simple Christlike service is a privilege,” he added.