“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness..... and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears….. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”
-Father Henri Nouwen
My name is Andrew Cowling. I am currently a freshman in college. I started Wagons of Hope, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization when I was in 10th grade. We began handing out bottled water and donuts to the homeless in downtown San Diego. We then added blankets, clothing, and toiletries. Today, our focus includes trying to provide some comfort to the homeless who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
Wagons of Hope aims to spread our message of hope and compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in a person's life, and that collective action can greatly impact the community. Through advocating for the homeless, we want to bring awareness to the suffering and plight of the often ignored and forgotten segment of our society.
HOW WE HELP
SAFE DRINKING WATER
Feeding the Hungry
In 2010, the United Nations passed a resolution making access to safe drinking water a basic human right.
We distribute bottled water to those on the streets of East Village. Most of us take our access to water for granted, but for the homeless, finding clean drinking water is a daily struggle. Imagine yourself outside in the heat all day, 7 days a week, and you are able to drink water only once or twice a day. It's hard to do, but that's what the unsheltered have to endure daily.
We also hand out Dunkin donuts. Unlike water, donuts are not critical, but we hand them out to bring smiles to people's faces. Who doesn't love a donut?
BLANKETS & WINTER CLOTHING COLLECTION
Help the Homeless Get Through the Night
During the winter, temperatures at night can become very cold, even freezing. Hypothermia can set in at temperatures as high as 50 degrees. Few have access to things like sleeping bags, blankets, hoodies or warm jackets. Picture yourself sleeping on cement every night without a blanket or coat to keep warm. You can help by donating used or new blankets and cold weather clothing. We collect year-round and can pick up at any location.
PROVIDING COMFORT FOR THE TERMINALLY SICK
Giving Hope to Those with None
Many terminally ill homeless are alone without family or friends for support. Wagons of Hope strives to provide some comfort to these suffering individuals, whether it means just listening to them or providing care packages. We also try our best to fulfill any personal requests so that they may be little more comfortable.
Cornell University, Freshman
Randy Cowling, PhD
UCSD, Asst. Professor of Medicine
Barry Greenberg, MD
UCSD, Director of Advanced Heart Failure
1-on-1 with Wagons of Hope Founder
(Please note that since this interview, the IRS granted Wagons of Hope 501(c)(3) status.)