By Daniel C. Houston
A group of Baylor students raised more money than they know how to spend working to help lift two Waco residents out of poverty.
Pheonix senior Allison Temnick, led an effort that raised more than $100 in a single day for two unemployed men whom she and a group of friends met in a Wendy’s restaurant parking lot a few weeks ago.
Although the group hasn’t yet decided exactly what resources it will purchase with the money raised, Temnick said she wants to use it to help the two re-enter the workplace and establish a stable source of income, rather than spending it to satisfy their immediate needs.
“I really have emphasized wanting to get them support so they can stand independently,” Temnick said, pointing out it was a difficult decision to avoid addressing their short-term needs. “If there’s any way for them to have some stable income by the time I graduate, I would be really happy.”
Temnick met the two men, whom she identified only by their first names, Terry and Jonas, after she attended a Christian worship conference that inspired her to reach out to the less fortunate.
“At the beginning of the semester I went to a Passion Conference, and my real focus was to live like Jesus did in a really practical way,” Temnick said. “One of the big things that I had been thinking about a lot was serving the poor.”
Temnick said she felt compelled to provide extra jackets to needful strangers, bringing friends with her from Highland Baptist Church, including Shaun Skubal, a sophomore at Texas State Technical College.
“We look at our closets and we see all these clothes that are not being used and she called on us to help,” Skubal said. “As we were going, we headed over there to the part of Waco where we see most of the homeless people and we ended up coming across Terry and Jonas.”
Terry and Jonas live temporarily in a house that charges $20 per person per night for rent.
When they met Temnick’s group, neither of them had a stable source of income.
Temnick later came up with the idea to hold a coin drive to raise money for them.
“I guess my idea initially was if we raised enough money maybe we could help them,” Temnick said. “I was thinking to help them get out of that house and that we could help them get a deposit on an apartment. … As I was talking to them they said they preferred to stay there … and I didn’t think that was going to be best for them.”
Temnick and her group pitched in to help purchase cellphones and minutes for Terry and Jonas so they would have phone numbers to list on job applications.
The group also helped them register for the necessary identification.
Thursday, Terry and Jonas submitted applications to work for Baylor Dining Services.
Temnick’s fundraising efforts consisted of asking fellow students in one of her classes as well as members of the Baylor chapter of Pi Beta Phi sorority to contribute pocket change toward their efforts.
Instead of just coins, she said, many students gave larger donations.
Skubal said the efforts to help others made him and the rest of the group stronger in their Christian faith.
“Once you step out and love someone who really needs it, you grow so much,” Skubal said. “You really feel like you’re living for a purpose, and the purpose is to give glory to God.”