Now that others can finally see this story through a Hollywood scripted film, we hope that it will bring a lot of awareness to the problem. That will help us help more people. —Zach Bonner
Zach Bonner has seen what it's like to really want something, and he's done something about it.
In 2005, a year after helping to gather supplies for victims of Hurricane Charley, he started a nonprofit organization to help underprivileged kids, with a focus on homeless youths.
He was only 8 years old at the time.
The Little Red Wagon Foundation has grown over the past seven years â€” so much, in fact, that a movie has recently been released showing how Bonner's desire to put those in need before himself has led others to do the same.
The film, "Little Red Wagon," will open in Utah on Nov. 30 at the Megaplex 20 at the District.
Research about homeless kids led to action. "I saw how much of a problem it was and knew it was something I had to get involved in," Bonner said.
The foundation started with Bonner's backpack program (nicknamed "Zachpacks"), which puts together food, personal hygiene kits and other supplies for underprivileged kids. To keep it fun, candy and small toys are included in the backpacks. More than 6,000 packs have been distributed across the country.
In addition to making and giving out his Zachpacks, Bonner has also walked 4,263 miles to raise awareness about the problem. He walked from his home in Tampa, Fla., to Tallahassee, Fla., in 2007; Tallahassee to Atlanta in 2008; Atlanta to Washington, D.C., in 2009; and, finally, the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in 2010.
The Little Red Wagon Foundation also plans to develop a resource center in Florida where kids can eat, get clothes and use computers.
Bonner continues to host events at which volunteers in the Tampa Bay area come together to raise funds and gather supplies. He and his foundation aim to do whatever it takes to help underprivileged youths.
When Bonner heard that his story was being turned into a movie, he welcomed the opportunity to spread the word about his foundation's work.Comment on this story
"It's truly been an exciting journey," said Bonner. "Now that others can finally see this story through a Hollywood scripted film, we hope that it will bring a lot of awareness to the problem. That will help us help more people."
Bonner hopes a powerful message in the film will catch viewers' attention.
"It doesn't matter how old or young you are, and you don't have to have a lot of money. You just have to have a desire. With a desire, you can really change the world," Bonner said.
The movie "Little Red Wagon" was released elsewhere on Oct. 5. For show dates and times, visit littleredwagonthemovie.com.
To learn more about the Little Red Wagon Foundation, visit its website at lrwf.org.
Kylie Lewis is an intern for the Deseret News where she writes for Mormon Times and other feature articles. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho, receiving a bachelor's degree in communications.