ZEPHYR — Drug addict, homeless, prison inmate.
Zephyr resident Donna Heard used those three terms in describing her earlier life.
College graduate, business owner, helper to the homeless.
Those terms describe Heard’s current life.
For the second consecutive year, Heard drove to Fort Worth Friday morning to deliver what she called “blessing bags” to the homeless. She was accompanied by her aunt, Cindy Rice, and friends Amanda Cash and Cassandra Reiger.
Heard, who is from Fort Worth, said the women went to Lancaster Street near downtown Fort Worth, where homeless people are located. They distributed about 140 blessing bags that contained small blanketts, deodorant, wipes, socks, gloves, scarves and toboggans.
“We just park and we get out and get armfuls of them and just start walking and handing them out,” Heard said.
Last year the women handed about less than 45 bags, and the recipients were “absolutely” grateful, she said.
“And it’s not so much what’s in that bag," Heard said. "It’s about when you hand it to them and the smile on their face. We even had men last year — we were trying to give them a bag and they would tell us ‘no, we don’t need it, give it to this one.’”
Heard, who serves on the Zephyr Volunteer Fire Department, owns a boutique called Bloomers and Boots. She graduated several years ago from Texas State Technical College with a degree in software business management.
Heard said she was born in Fort Worth and moved to Zephyr as a teenager because of her grandparents.
“I was a drug addict for many years, and during that time I was in the Fort Worth area,” Heard said. “Because of my poor choices I ended up on those streets and I ended up going to prison.
“While I was in prison I had made up my mind that when I got home, I wanted to graduate college. I did that. I wanted to open my own business. I’ve done that. And I wanted to help the homeless.”
Heard said her life began to change after she started reading a prayer book in prison, which someone had given her, on a daily basis. The prayer book was called “The Prayer of Jabez,” from the Old Testament, Heard said.
“I would like to mention that we have a group of ladies here from the Baptist church,” Heard said. “They make blankets for the last two yeas and have given to me — and they’re beautiful blankets — to give to the homeless.”
The women buy the material, make the blankets and donate them. “These are big blankets like you’d put on a bed,” Heard said.
She said it costs $5 to fill a blessing bag, and she hopes to have so many bags to take to Fort Worth next year that they’ll have to rent a U-Haul trailer.
“It changes you the first time you do it,” Heard said. “It changes your whole perspective in life. And it doesn’t matter why they are homeless. That’s not for us to judge.”