Hirschbach driver Louis Nelsen knows what it’s like to be homeless– the fear, the helplessness and sadness.
On January 19, 2014, Nelsen, his wife and two kids, found themselves in an unexpected and terrifying situation that left them homeless. Thanks to the kindness of strangers and a church in their hometown near Branson, Missouri, the family was put in a motel. The conditions weren’t perfect, but the Nelsen’s had a roof over their heads and they were together.
Not long after, the Nelsens stumbled upon a store in Hollister, Missouri called Selfless Blessings.
Selfless Blessings is a FREE store for anyone in need. Customers take whatever they need and pay whatever they can.
Selfless Blesssings’ owner, Andrea Berdine, told the Nelsen’s to “Take whatever you need.”
Over the next couple of months, the Nelsen’s worked hard at getting back on their feet, and Berdine helped the family every step of the way.
“Selfless Blessings gave us our life. Without them, we had nothing. They gave us hope.”
Selfless Blessings’ mission is so unique, the store caught national media attention. The store, and the Nelsens, were even featured on the Today Show. In March, Louis took a job as a lease-purchase driver with Hirschbach.
Things began to look up. Nelsen said he began earning a good, steady paycheck. He was able to move his family into an apartment, and he started giving back to Selfless Blessings– the organization that had given him hope.
“I wanted to pay it forward,” Nelsen said. “I started with a $20 and talked with her expressing my family’s gratitude for her being there in our time of need. I proceeded to give another $20. Andrea insisted that the first was plenty, but I explained to her that I give back when I can and, with another $20, I explained that I like to pay it forward as I was taught by my mom. So, yep, another $20 to help the next family that couldn’t afford to pay a penny.
The giving didn’t end there. “My company, Hirschbach Motor Lines, from East Dubuque, IL, called Andrea and told her they were doubling my donation of $80 to $160.”
A couple of weeks after the store gained national attention, Berdine found out her free store was no longer welcome at its current location.
The store, the people, who have given hope to 200 families per day, now needs help itself.
“She helped me when I was homeless,” Nelsen tearfully said, “Now she’s homeless. I feel the need to help her.”
Nelsen has pledged to donate $.05 per mile for the entire month of July to Selfless Blessings. He’s calling on others to do the same. He’s spreading the word about paying it forward. Another driver at Hirschbach has pledged to donate $250. Nelsen is challenging others to match half.
“There’s somebody out there worse off than you,” Nelsen says.
In addition to offering $.05 per mile, Nelsen is willing to part with his beloved hair! He’s been growing it out since 2011, when he was recovering from a surgery.
“I’m offering and donating in the month of July, 5 cents per mile that I drive. I am also placing a bounty on my hair. A minimum of $4000 total donations and the company CDLLife.com will have the opportunity to shave my hair and I will donate the hair to locks of love,” Nelsen challenged. “Sure, I lose my mullet, maybe a new look is finally in store for me. But, it’s an all around win, win, win. CDLLife.com will have the pictures of my locks, and with any luck… my actual locks.”
Are you up for driving it forward? Make a pledge today! Cash or check donations– even if it’s $1– can be mailed to: P.O. Box 1006 Hollister, MO 65673. Make sure to mark that your donation is in ℅ Louis Nelsen.
You can reach Selfless Blessings at:[email protected]