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Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Do Good Bus charity tour makes stop in Houston


Volunteers helped by constructing furniture for a client with the Halo House Foundation, an organization that rents apartments to cancer patients. | Robert Z. Easley /The Daily Cougar

Volunteers helped by constructing furniture for a client with the Halo House Foundation, an organization that rents apartments to cancer patients. | Robert Z. Easley /The Daily Cougar

About 20 passengers sat cheerfully in a bus Saturday, but not a single one of them knew exactly where they were going or what they would be doing once they arrived.

The Do Good Bus is a charity organization that was founded in Los Angeles by Stephen Snedden and Rebecca Pontius and has partnered with the band Foster the People in order to give first-time volunteers an easy way in to charity work.

“Our friends have always asked, ‘How do I get involved? I want to help but I don’t know how,’” Pontius said. “Eventually we said, ‘What if we just got a bus, put all of our friends on the bus and we showed them how to do it?’”

One of the unique things about the Do Good Bus is the fact that volunteers have no idea where they are going or what they will be doing until the bus arrives at its destination, partially because “everyone likes a surprise,” but also to help eliminate any hesitation that first-time volunteers may have, Pontius said.

“(We don’t want) anyone to have any preconceived notions about whatever we’re doing, so … we just show up to an activity and they jump right in; they don’t get to think about it, they just have to do it,” she said.

After playing a couple of games to break the ice with one another, the volunteers arrived at Fannin Street Station, where the Halo House Foundation owns four apartments that can be rented by patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma for $20 a night, far less than the cost of a hotel room, said John Grindle, the high-five guy for the Do Good Bus.

The crew from the bus worked for over 5 hours furnishing two new apartments, which will be occupied by patients and their families early this week.

Kathleen Fowler was prompted to start the Halo House Foundation after her son, who is an oncologist, met a 26-year-old man with blood cancer whose hotel bills were beginning to take a financial toll on his family, she said.

“He said, ‘I’m not afraid to die, Dr. Fowler, but I’m afraid to leave my family with nothing,’” said Fowler. “And I thought, we can do this. We can help.”

Anyone who wants to support Halo House Foundation can find more information at halohousefoundation.org, said Fowler; they are especially looking for people to volunteer their time to help with media and public relations for the foundation.

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