Students who saw a red bus on the Ole Miss campus last week may have thought it was Oxford’s signature Double Decker icon, but this red bus had a bigger purpose than tourism.
As part of the parent organization Show Hope, the Red Bus Project works to share the stories of orphaned children to college students around the country.
Based out of Franklin, Tennessee, Show Hope is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding forever homes for orphans and abandoned children around the world.
Founders Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth founded the movement with the hope of making a difference in the lives of millions of children in need.
Show Hope works towards this goal through things like adoption aid financial grants that help families who want to adopt afford the cost. It has also helped establish special care centers in China to help care for orphans with special needs
Each semester, the campaign travels to 25 college campuses in five weeks. This is the fourth tour they have held, and Ole Miss is the first campus kicking off this year’s effort.
Each campus visit consists of a mobile thrift store, activities and outreach. The thrift store is housed inside the renovated double decker bus, and proceeds go towards orphan advocacy. Students can also donate clothing in support.
In addition to their work on college campuses, the project hosts mission trips and campaigns, and challenges students to get involved and become advocates.
It estimates that there are currently 140 million orphans or abandoned children worldwide with another addition every 18 seconds. That equates to 4,795 newly orphaned children a day, according to their webpage.
In an effort to raise awareness and combat this fact, the campaign promotes the 18-second challenge. The two-fold challenge begins Nov. 1 and goes through Nov. 18.
The first part asks students to donate $18. Then participants are tasked to challenge 18 of their friends to donate the same amount. Each person who donates continues the challenge with 18 of their friends.
Brooke Lyle, student initiatives program coordinator, explains that this drive for donations results in changed lives. For every $5,000 donated, a family can receive an adoption grant.
Students looking to get involved can visit the Red Bus Project webpage to learn more and become an advocate.