Waco: Kind gesture morphs into charitable organization

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) You could say all it took for a new service organization to pop up on Baylor University's campus was a student with an eye to spot the obvious and other who needed help.

During the fall of 2015 Taylor Ernst, a sophomore at Baylor, noticed Tony Zhang struggling to get to class after someone stole his motorized chair.

Zhang has cerebral palsy.

So Ernest helped raise money to replace the stolen scooter.

But then Ernst took this act a step further and created the Baylor's Helping Hands organization.

He said with the help of God and some very generous people he was able to raise enough money to start the group on campus to provide outreach beyond the Baylor campus.

In fact he said he was blessed with so much more that he has already started helping others.

According to the group's Facebook page it has donated to a disability clinic in Africa.

"Whether you have a family member with a disability or you have a disability that hasn't been met, we are here to fill that gap. Whether you might need a hearing aid because he can't afford it or possibly it could be you might need an extra battery for your scooter, we are here to bridge that gap,” Ernst said.

According to the Heart of Texas Aging and Disability Resources Center, it a gap that is all too real.

"We have people how say we have carpenters and men who could help build ramps, who could help install grab bars. That tangible equipment does become a huge need and unfortunately there just isn't enough within the state approved services. They're limited in funding and limited budget to respond to all the needs,” Senior Resource Navigator Amy Ashcraft said.

So, there is a need for immediate service.

Experts also added for people younger than 60 there are fewer service organizations available.

Baylor's Helping Hands also plans to partner with Waco ISD who will identify students in need and make referrals.

Taylor said he is also talking to other universities to see if they program could work there.

He said students at Stephen F. Austin University are interested in a similar program on their campus.

Right now, there are at least 25 volunteers involved with the organization.

They say they are ready to make a difference.