Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

In Appleton, Wisconsin: Focusing on homelessness via the Little Red Wagon January 21, 2015

Little Red Wagon movieWHEN CHURCHES PRACTICE what they preach, they make a noticeable impact in the world.

When individuals do good, they also make a difference.

This Saturday The Mission Church will impact Appleton, Wisconsin, with a free screening of the movie, Little Red Wagon, based on the true story of Zach Bonner. In 2005, the then 7-year-old founded the Little Red Wagon Foundation, a nonprofit that helps underprivileged kids, focusing on those who are homeless. Just a year earlier, he’d canvassed his Arkansas neighborhood with his little red wagon gathering items for survivors of Hurricane Charley.

Zach, who now lives in Florida, will be in Appleton for the 10 a.m. Saturday, January 24, screening at Valley Value Cinemas, 2165 South Memorial Drive, and for a reception following at The Mission, 314 North Appleton Street. Movie attendees are invited to afterward walk the two miles from the movie theatre to the church, thus visually and publicly raising awareness of homelessness.

Now, you’re likely wondering how I know about this movie event 300 miles from my Minnesota home. Well, my second daughter, Miranda, lives in Appleton and attends The Mission Church. She phoned recently all excited about the Little Red Wagon. I’m not surprised. Twice after Hurricane Katrina, she traveled to New Orleans to assist with clean-up. She’s a young woman with a big heart and a passion for helping others.

So even though this project is not happening in my main readership area, I couldn’t turn down my daughter’s request to publicize this cause.

In addition to the movie showing and the Q & A with Zach, The Mission Church has been collecting small toys, activity books, socks, mittens, sample-size toiletries, food and more to fill 300 “Zach Packs,” bags measuring 14 by 17 inches. These will be gifted to area homeless children through Harbor House (which serves victims and survivors of domestic abuse) and Homeless Connections (an organization helping the homeless in the Fox Valley region), Miranda says.

If you live in eastern Wisconsin, I’d encourage you to attend this Little Red Wagon event in Appleton on Saturday. If you can’t be there, like me, I suggest you check out the Little Red Wagon website by clicking here. The nonprofit accepts monetary donations for its projects. Or take action in your own community.

Watch the movie trailer by clicking here. As the narrator says, “In every one of us there is the power to do great things.”

All we need to do is act.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling