LifePak expands to more campuses, addresses essential needs
Seven years ago, Will Dobrient took it upon himself to do something about a growing social issue.
As a sophomore at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, he began what would become LifePak, a program designed to give aid to those experiencing homelessness.
More than 580,000 people experience homelessness on any given night, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. In Dallas, the 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) count found 4,410 experiencing houselessness.
His goal was simple: to provide resources by any means necessary to the homeless. The name emerged when he made life packs – bags that contained essentials such as food, water, snacks, and even Subway gift cards.
Dobrient, now a sophomore at the University of Dallas, continues his advocacy for homeless residents through the Christ in the City ministry.
But students from several schools are continuing the LifePak initiative, including founding members: Victor Acosta (Naaman Forest High School), Nicholas Archer (Jesuit), Jaimi Coleman (Plano West Senior High), Julian Coleman (Plano West), Ben Fernandez (Jesuit), Elisa Fernandez (Ursuline Academy), and John Lee (Jesuit).
“Living under a roof is a blessing that shouldn’t be taken for granted,” said Elisa Fernandez, a sophomore at Ursuline Academy. “With LifePak, I’m able to put action behind my words and do something I believe in … helping others.”
On Sept. 19, the group presented to the student body at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy and celebrated establishing that school’s LifePak Club and donation drive.
Donation drives help provide socks, hats, coats, and other necessities to those in need.
“What I’ve found really surprising is that the more we do with our donation drives for clothing or just building and distributing LifePaks, the more people want to get involved,” Archer said. “It’s kind of contagious.”
LifePak also held an annual fall pumpkin patch fundraiser at Preston Hollow United Methodist Church.
John Lee and Ben Fernandez noted that LifePak is about hope.
“With all of the bad things going on in our world, just doing something gives me hope,” Lee said.
Fernandez called it “an eye-opening experience.”
“I’ve realized that it’s all about connection, connecting with our neighbors, connecting with our friends,” he said. “We’re all a part of this great village, and we need to help one another. We’re all growing and learning together.”