What do adoption, thrift stores and a British double-decker bus have in common? The Red Bus Project, coming to campus tomorrow, incorporates all three into their ministry: a giant red bus that travels from college to college, educating students about adoption and seeking to raise support for adopting families through its thrift store on wheels.
The Red Bus team will be on campus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. The bus will be parked in front of the Barefoots Joe patio, offering the opportunity to shop and learn. Red Bus staffers and volunteers will be educating students about the needs of orphans and offering the opportunity for students to sign up to get involved, donate money and clothes and do some shopping.
The Red Bus Project is the collegiate branch of Nashville-based ministry Show Hope, a nonprofit organization founded by Christian music artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. Their website explains, “Show Hope is a movement to care for orphans, restoring the hope of a family to orphans in distress around the world.” Show Hope uses the proceeds from the bus to financially support adopting families and help them bring their sons and daughters home.
The Project’s primary goal, however, is to get students actively involved in caring for orphans in a variety of ways.
“Students really care about making a difference in the world. Sometimes they just need someone to point them in the right direction,” said Chris Wheeler, Show Hope’s Director of Student Initiatives, responsible for overseeing the Red Bus Project. “The Red Bus Project is a way to lead students toward truly making a huge impact in the global orphan crisis through simple steps of action.”
The Red Bus Project makes a stop at Union each year. This year’s scheduling enables the Red Bus team to focus more specifically on cultivating relationships with and educating Union students. Their ultimate desire is to help students become passionate about this issue and show them how they can take action to help, according to Wheeler.
“Our goal is not to just swoop on to a campus, have a fun event, then leave and never be heard from again. We have a very intentional strategy in place to move students progressively toward deeper and deeper engagement in a lifestyle of orphan care,” Wheeler said. “We are asking them ‘What is your Red Bus?’ – a metaphor for specific actions they will take to help the plight of the orphan.”
To date, the Red Bus Project has reached more than 220,000 students throughout the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest. During their tour this fall, they will make stops at 25 different universities.