Two years ago, First Baptist of Fort Dodge, in conjunction with the Fort Dodge office of Upper Des Moines Opportunity, began a transportation ministry. The goal was to help those in poverty situations for whom transportation is an obstacle to moving ahead in life. A schedule was set up to provide transportation to Iowa Workforce Development, GED classes, and Walmart to be able to shop for nutritious food.
It went nowhere.
No one signed up to make use of what was being offered. For months, no one made use of this resource. Finally, from a conversation with staff of Early Head Start, First Baptist began providing transportation to its monthly social gatherings for some of their clients. Additionally, after a conversation with the local YWCA, First Baptist also began providing transportation out to Walmart twice weekly for clients of the YWCA.
In an effort to increase the reach and impact in the community of this ministry, more opportunities were sought through conversations and attendance at monthly meetings of social workers where the existence of Wheels of Hope was shared.
From this came an opportunity to serve the Fort Dodge Community School District. There were nine at-risk students who needed to be in summer school but for whom transportation to, from, or both was an obstacle. Maria Lehman with FDCSD contacted Pastor Jim Laupp to inquire whether or not First Baptist through Wheels of Hope might be able to provide transportation for these nine children.
So, beginning June 21st and for the duration of summer school, Wheels of Hope transported these nine children three days a week to and from an elementary school for class. The picture shows Pastor Jim with the children in the van.
From this opportunity, additional opportunities to serve the children of the Fort Dodge community through FDCSD have been discussed.
When Wheels of Hope was designed, in no one’s mind was it conceived that we would be at this point, doing this type of thing, but thanks to the Holy Spirit’s direction and leading, the path has developed and continues to develop for additional opportunities to impact the community of Fort Dodge.