Dozens of students crowded around a red double decker bus that was parked outside the Bawcom Student Union Building. The large vehicle is called the Red Bus Project, and its purpose is to attract students to buy items for sale and spread awareness about orhan care.
The project is a mobile thrift store that travels from different college campuses, spreading awareness about the more than 140 million orphans around the world in need of hope.
Their mission is to give the college students a chance to help by buying clothes at reasonable prices and donating clothes they have outgrown or no longer need.
The money made is solely given to an orphan care system called Share Hope. Share Hope is the main base of the organization and is run by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth Chapman.
Their daughter, Emily Chapman, was attending Baylor University when she came up with the idea to get college students involved with helping orphans. Chapman and her family launched the Red Bus Project in 2012, and since then have visited over 60 different colleges.
“The very first tour of the red bus actually came through my university, it was one of the first or second stops ever made. I went and hung out, figured out what it was all about, and fell in love.” Ashley West said, an intern for the Red Bus Project.
Freshman nursing major Sedona Goad thinks the project is a great way to bring awareness of orphans to students.
“I think it’s a really good organization and how they are doing it through thrifting,” Goad said. “It’s really “in” right now among college students and by going campus-to-campus and getting as much money as they can and donating it solely to the orphan care, I really admire that”
Goad was so impressed with the organization that she decided to work with the project while they were on campus and help students involved.
“I’m in FYC and at first we were required to take shifts, but then I got here and I talked to one of the people that runs the show and I was really interested and really glad that I could help. They gave me all these statistics about how every 18 seconds a person is orphaned so I want to do anything I can to help out.”
Orphaned children often lose their voices and are overlooked and undervalued. The Red Bus Project wants to give those children a voice.
Students who didn’t get a chance to participate in the Red Bus Project can always help.. Students can mail their old clothes to the organization, intern and travel with the red bus for three months, join and share their messages through social media, or work with the base organization Show Hope.
“Everyone can use whatever gifts god gave you to make a difference,” Brook Lyle, a Red Bus supervisor for Show hope said. “This doesn’t have to be your degree plan or have a crazy story of why you are so passionate about it. I think everyone can do something and we hope that once we leave campus that everyone will feel empowered to care for the orphans.”