News / USA

US Volunteer Travels Cross Country to Help People in Need

Drew Johnson delivers food for the Meals on Wheels program
Drew Johnson delivers food for the Meals on Wheels program

President Barack Obama has been stressing the importance of public service and volunteering.  Drew Johnson is doing that in 48 U.S. states over 48 weeks.  He has done everything from building homes and delivering meals, to cleaning up after a flood.

Drew Johnson, a web designer, considers helping others his passion.  He says it occurred to him one day that he should make a road trip to help the needy.

"And volunteer as you go, really help people, and then use your knowledge and ability with technology to connect people, to motivate them to go out and serve their communities," he said.


Inspiration and documentary
He began his journey last October and is documenting his experiences on a blog and on Facebook.  He is encouraging people to make volunteering a part of their lives.  "I wanted to invite people along with me, and I think some of the best ways to do that is through pictures, video and writing," he explained. "But the blog to me is kind of that mixture of everything and allows people to follow along."

Johnson lives simply and relies on donations.  Sometimes people feed him and offer a place to stay.  Otherwise, he sleeps in a tent, or in his car.  He says he tries to set up volunteer work in advance, but sometimes he just arrives in a town and asks where he can serve.

When Nashville, Tennessee, was devastated by flooding this year, he helped people remove debris from their homes. He also lent a hand to refugees, including people from Burundi in East Africa.

Making a difference
Today he is delivering free meals to the elderly in Maryland through a program called Meals on Wheels.

Peggy Toole of Meals on Wheels says Johnson was a wonderful surprise. "I wish there were more people like him putting a spotlight on how important it is to volunteer, to just help one another, try to put yourself in somebody else's position," she stated.

Johnson does the dirty jobs some volunteers don't want to do like cleaning up after horses.  At a location in Pennsylvania, where horses were rescued from certain slaughter he places covering on their heads to protect them from flies.

Kindness begets kindness
Johnson believes kindness begets kindness. The owner of this auto shop in Maryland fixes Johnson's car brakes after hearing he volunteered for Meals on Wheels. "I think it's great," the mechanic said. "I think it's cool, and we're going to help him out."

"You can use your talents, your abilities in so many different areas out there to actually help people to make this world a better place," Johnson said. He will continue his travels through October.  But he says his journey to help others will never end.   

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid