When you have been in the trailer business for 30 years you have seen trailers used in hundreds of different ways. This may be the most impactful.
The Calzada family in Fort Worth, Texas is using a 24-foot stage trailer to bring hope and resources to families in need and has served thousands of people through their weekly ministry, an annual shoe donation program, and an annual Thanksgiving turkey donation.
Fort Worth Metro began 26 years ago with a mission to impact the city of Fort Worth with hope and bring lasting change to generations. Ruth and Buddy Calzada, along with their two children, hope to see the generational cycles in the inner city of Fort Worth be broken in children and their families by providing them with hope and resources.
“We basically meet the tangible needs of the people, whether it’s groceries, food, clothing, things like that,” Ruth said. “We are also faith based, so we meet a spiritual need. We bring hope and basically just try to encourage kids that are overlooked because of where they come from. We bring hope to people who feel like they are forgotten.”
Many ministries or churches bus people to their ministry location, and Fort Worth Metro tried that at one point, but the Calzadas realized that the people they serve need to know how to function and live and do life where they are at. And that meant bringing the ministry to them. In doing so, their mobile ministry serves as the church for many of the people they serve.
“It’s very unconventional because we just pull up in a big old trailer with a stage and we set up and we preach, but we are their church,” Ruth said. “Literally. It’s the only church they get and they call us their pastors, so the ministry is the trailer.”
In recent years, as their ministry expanded, the need for a better trailer grew. The Penske truck they were using was over 12 years old and becoming dangerous to operate on a daily basis. A donor reached out with an offer to fund a new trailer and the Calzadas met with a local trailer company, but came away unimpressed with that company’s passion for the job.
“I felt like he was just doing a job. I wanted someone who was going to have the heart for what we were doing and understand really, truly what we were trying to do with this trailer,” Ruth said about her meeting with the other trailer company. “I wanted someone who, when they were building the trailer, was going to pray over the trailer and be passionate about the ministry.”
Ruth’s husband, Buddy, turned to the internet to search for trailer companies and came across Advantage Trailer. The experience could not have been more different. Within a couple hours of sending an inquiry, the Calzadas received a phone call from owner Dan Webb expressing his desire to be a part of their vision. Within 24 hours they had a mockup and pricing.
The donor funded a quick trip to Chicago to visit Advantage and meet with Dan in person, and that meeting left an indelible impression on the Calzadas.
“I’ll never forget it. He was so excited about what he was going to get to do and I knew this was the place,” Ruth said. “I just knew. When we walked through and shared our vision he didn’t write anything down. He was just soaking it in. I was like ‘Okay, I’m sure he’s got this,’ and sure enough, he nailed it. He nailed it completely.
“Even on the spiritual side of it, he had his home group praying because we were trying to raise funds for a truck to come pick up the trailer,” she continued. “Dan had his home group praying for us! I mean, who does that, business-wise!? He was not just building a trailer. He was completely, fully vested into what we were doing, so it was an amazing experience.”
The Calzadas’ experience with Advantage Trailer illustrates exactly what we preach as a company. When we say we build dreams, we mean it. We know that if a customer is looking for a trailer they’re going to be passionate about what they intend to use it for, and therefore, we need to have a passion for their vision as well. If not, we can’t give them exactly what they’re looking for.
In the case of the Calzadas, the chance help a ministry become more efficient and established fit right in with our core value of serving others.
The trailer is outfitted with a sound system, lighting, and storage space for toys, candy, and giveaways, allowing Fort Worth Metro to pull into a neighborhood, open up, and start serving the community.
“We have two main inner-city project housing neighborhoods that we go into every single week,” Ruth said. “Because we’ve been doing it for 26 years, we obviously have generations of kids now that are coming. Kids that have grown up and have kids of their own now bringing their children to our programs.”
In addition, Fort Worth Metro hosts an annual Soles 4 Souls program in which they wash feet, pray over them, and put a new pair of shoes on them, something they have been doing the past six summers, resulting in over 6,000 pairs of shoes donated. They also give out more than 500 turkeys each Thanksgiving to families in need. And the Calzadas aren’t interested in slowing down any time soon.
“Eventually, we would like to add another area, but right now we just don’t have the means to do that,” Ruth said. “Our biggest goal right now is to do what we’re doing this weekend. Every chance we can, any time a church, a school, or an organization calls on us, just to be there. I wouldn’t mind if every single day I had to open the trailer for some kind of outreach, to have it used for making a difference and making an impact.
“Basically, I’d like to reach every single corner of our city. I’d like to see this trailer go into every area of this city, everywhere it possibly can, just to be able to make an impact and make a difference.”
Asked what she would tell someone else who is interested in purchasing a trailer, Ruth didn’t hesitate.
“They need to go to Advantage and don’t go anywhere else,” she said. “They just need to stop looking. You guys know what you’re doing, you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and the best way I can describe it is it’s not just a job. You’re fully invested in every trailer you build, and it’s more than just putting nuts and bolts together.”
Ruth and her family have dedicated their lives to serving those in need throughout Fort Worth. They've already made an enormous impact on the lives of those in need, and with a vision of reaching the entire city, they will no doubt continue to make a difference. We are honored to play a small part in this ministry and will continue to pray for lives to be changed because of it. Will you join us?