150 Church members serve the homeless — youth call charity walk opportunity to share

Warren Basham's family has gone through "some rough times."

Because of it, the high school student in the Bowling Green 2nd Ward, Nashville Tennessee Stake, is happy to help the homeless."We've been very close to being homeless ourselves," the teen said before recently joining more than 150 other Church members to raise money for the less fortunate. "We have been lucky keeping a house and a home. I just feel sorry for the people who haven't been able to, and I thought I'd come out and help as much as I can."

As part of a stake youth service project, Church members from the Nashville Tennessee Stake recently traveled as many as 120 miles in the rain to participate in the three-mile " '96 Walk for the Homeless" in downtown Nashville.

Proceeds from the walk - sponsored by the Family and Friends Association and the Nashville Coalition for the Homeless - will help members of Nashville's homeless population who have jobs get into permanent housing by providing funds for a deposit, utilities and the first-month's rent.

"I came today because you see the people walking along the street and you don't know what to do," said Roslyn Hale of the Bowling Green 1st Ward. "By participating in the Walk for the Homeless you can help them a lot."

In January, several youth in the stake attended a fireside to launch the event.

There they saw a slide show picturing "the other faces of the homeless," said Libby Frech, stake media relations coordinator. Sister Frech, who worked to create the slide show, said she wanted the youth to understand that many of the stereotypes about the homeless are false and that they smile, laugh, have jobs and talents, and are just like everyone else.

Terry Bjarnson, stake Young Men president, said the youth were touched by the presentation. During the months after the gathering they worked to raise pledges for donations for the homeless walk, he said, adding that one group even made cookies and took them to a homeless shelter as a service project.

The youth were also encouraged to invite their families, friends and school to support the walk.

"It is amazing how the Lord helps get people involved when they take the initiative," said Rebecca Kohler. "I am blessed with so many things, that I thought I'd share with other people and give them an opportunity to have those same things."

Brother Bjarnson said as a result of the project, the youth learned not only compassion but also how to work with the Spirit. He believes that the youth are gaining a testimony of service.

After the event, Brother Bjarnson's son, Corey, said: "We need less dances and more service projects."

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