Smith sat down in front of the television. He says, “I was seeing the destruction right before my eyes and I knew I needed to get there.” According to the national weather service, by the day’s end, an estimated 13 tornados had hit the Dallas metropolitan area. CNN reports that 349 homes were destroyed and 750 homes were damage. “All that destruction and nobody was killed…is just a blessing from God,” says Smith.
Immediately, Smith contacted the Vice President of his charity, The Wade Smith Foundation, to discuss how they could come to the aid of tornado victims by providing resources and helping in the rebuilding process. Even though his foundation is geared towards helping children in the areas of education and literacy, he and his wife, Rita, felt this was a chance to put their faith into action in a different way.
“God put me in the position that I’m in for a reason; to help others. We want to help anybody in need if we have the opportunity,” Smith stated.
Having the foundation in place opens up more possibilities for the couple to assist others.
“Now we can actually get our hands dirty and see the faces of the people we help…instead of just writing a check. Writing a check is easy,” says Rita Smith. Get their hands dirty is just what they did.
Wade credits his wife with the idea of utilizing the message board in his Houston community to solicit donations. Upon informing their neighbors of their desire to help get relief to the Dallas tornado victims, they received a great response. Rita drove around the community and loaded up two cars with clothing, diapers, shoes, and even teddy bears. By Thursday, the couple was making the four-hour drive from Houston to Dallas.
After arriving in Dallas they continued to gather items for the community, making several trips to area stores. They filled shopping carts with toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, deodorant, and underwear. “They need the basic items you take for granted, until your whole world is turned upside down,” Rita added.
While shopping with her daughters Arissa (7) and Aaliyah (5), she explained to them how the tornados had swept through the city and although no lives were lost, many people’s homes were lost or damaged. Once the girls understood, they added to the list of items to be purchased; convincing their mother that the kids they help would also need books and toys. They even offered to give of their own personal items. It is clear that the Smith’s compassion for others is being instilled into the hearts of their children, who will most likely grow up and give back to the community as well.
On Saturday, April 7, 2012, The Wade Smith Foundation embarked on their first relief effort. With a group of 25 people, they gathered at the Lancaster Public Library in one of the hardest hit areas of town. There they provided life necessities to victims affected by the tornadoes. The most moving part for Wade and Rita was helping Louis and Gwen Edwards to clean up the debris from their home. This was a family who had been through a series of difficult times over the past couple years and the storms just added to their sorrows. Mrs. Edwards’ son had been killed by a drunk driver in 2010 and she had a stroke just last year. On the day of the storm she hid in the bathroom when the tornado came barreling towards her home. When she came out, her entire roof was gone with the exception of the bathroom roof where she had been hiding.
Upon hearing the story, Rita recognizes, “That was GOD protecting her.”
While getting their hands dirty helping those in need, Wade and Rita Smith ended up getting blessed in return. Their faith was strengthened while hearing and seeing the miracle God performed in the lives of the Edwards family as he spared them in the midst of such devastation. And they were blessed to fulfill their desire of giving back to the community by meeting the needs of others through basic provisions, physical labor and spiritual encouragement. On Easter weekend, when Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ, Wade, Rita and the volunteers of The Wade Smith Foundation also celebrated the lives of the Edwards family and all the others who were spared during the Dallas storms. Led by members from the Edwards’ church, who showed up unexpectedly, the group sang choruses of Amen and culminated the day with prayer.
THE WADE SMITH FOUNDATION
In March of 2012, The Wade Smith Foundation (WSF) was started by Wade and Rita Smith in his hometown of Dallas, Texas. Much of Wade’s desire to give back to the community has to do with the people who positively impacted him during his early years. Because of the type of help he received, such as free SAT/ACT prep courses, he wants to make sure those type of opportunities are available for others. The foundation provides community support programs for youth from elementary through high school in the areas of education and literacy; health, fitness and nutrition; summer healthy meal programs; summer reading programs; and annual scholarship programs.
WSF is hosting its inaugural Lake Highlands Legends Charity Weekend beginning Thursday, April 26 – Saturday April 28, in Dallas, Texas. This is a weekend of charity and community merging Smith’s vision of reuniting notable Wildcat Alumni and fundraising for the various youth programs within his foundation. The weekend will include: readings at area elementary schools, a football camp, a celebrity bowling tournament and flag football game, and evening social events. All proceeds will go to The Wade Smith Foundation. To learn more about WSF and how you can help, log on to www.wadesmithfoundation.org or contact them at:
The Wade Smith Foundation
2633 McKinney Avenue #130-412
Dallas, Texas 75204
1-888-403-2500 toll-free phone
1-888-657-8520 toll-free fax
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
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