Burleson businesswoman Amber Wilkerson had the chance to volunteer at a Fort Worth church on Thanksgiving and the experience, she said, changed her life.

For many years, Wilkerson thought about doing something for others during the holiday season, but the opportunity always passed her by. 

Shortly before Thanksgiving, Wilkerson was talking with Rich Harris, owner of Attaché Interactive Solutions in Joshua, who mentioned he was taking his family to serve the homeless at Fort Worth’s Church on the Slab.

The church opens its doors to everyone, but lends extra hands to the homeless. 

“I just jumped on the wagon with Attaché,” Wilkerson said. “I’ve been asking God to lead me in a direction for a long time. Something that’s just kind of outside me. And when I got this opportunity, I jumped on it of course, but I was scared to death. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Wilkerson admitted that she wasn’t sure how to interact with the homeless population at first. 

“They actually played one of these [introduction] videos for the volunteers before they let everyone come in to be served,” Wilkerson said. “I didn’t get a couple of minutes into it before I was just ... wow. By the time that I left I knew that this was something I was going to be involved in.” 

Harris said he learned of the opportunity to serve at Church on the Slab through a former boss. 

“We postponed our Thanksgiving until after the afternoon and that was fine,” he said. “So my whole entire family, about 30 people, had to move back Thanksgiving about an hour and a half. 

“It really opened my son’s eyes. He didn’t know what to say afterwards. It took him a couple of days to finally go, ‘You know, Rich, I don’t really need a whole lot for Christmas.’ And I was like, ’Well why not?’ and he was like, ‘Because there are people who need more.’ I’m a second-year dad to my step-son, and I’ve never had children. That was really cool to see.” 

After the experience, Wilkerson said she had the idea to use her family’s business location, Home Care Extended, as a drop-off location for donations to the church. Because the homeless population is transient, people from all over North Texas could benefit from the generosity of those in Johnson County. 

Harris, too, felt moved enough by the experience to help the church redo their website and digital content. 

“If we only give back time, that’s fine,” Harris said. “That’s cool to take that time away and actually donate it to doing something cool and teaching my son something awesome. We don’t make a ton of money, but there are people out there that don’t make any. It’s cool to teach him the right perspective from a moral point of view.”

Wilkerson said she believes there might have been some divine intervention lending to her decision. 

“The Saturday before Thanksgiving we had our family Thanksgiving because my brother was leaving to go into the Army,” she said. “[Having time on Thanksgiving] definitely presented an opportunity to volunteer, and I had been asking for some time to be led in a direction where I could be of some service and be of some good.” 

During the holidays, Church on the Slab is in need of mostly long men’s pants, size 32 to 34, long-sleeved shirts, socks, boots, blankets, sleeping bags, one-person tents and other winter items. For more information about donation needs or to schedule a drop off, call Wilkerson at 817-447-9403. Home Care Extended is located at 132 N.W. Ellison St. in Burleson. 

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