East Dubuque teen delivers free resources to those in need with trailer

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 10:26 PM CDT
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EAST DUBUQUE, Illinois (KCRG) - Tuesday afternoon The Boundless Trailer was parked at East Dubuque Elementary School for its third-ever outing.

The Boundless Trailer is a project by Paige Johnston, 19, who describes it as a “mobile resource center.” It offers clothes, food, and hygiene products for free. “Our mission is to bridge the gap between hurting individuals and basic life necessities,” said Johnston.

“It’s so funny, because so many of them come up and be like, ‘Nothing’s free,’” said Johnston. “I’m like, ‘No, it’s really free. Like, take what you need.’”

The project got its start from videos Johnston watched during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In my free time, I was watching like, Flipper Upper and just different things of like, renovation processes. I was like, ‘I want to do that.’”

Johnston bought a 1974 Yellowstone camper on Facebook marketplace for $500. “And then the idea kind of just came from that I wanted to renovate something, but I wanted to make sure that it was useful and being used in a positive way,” said Johnston.

The project started in earnest last month. The trailer parked in front of East Dubuque Elementary School then, too, and Johnston said she served 10 families.

Her second trip was Saturday to Cedar Rapids. “We served 75 people full resources out of the trailer. So that’s a fresh meal, hygiene products, clothing and connections to the other nonprofits in the area. And then we served 20 with just hygiene and a fresh meal,” said Johnston.

The Boundless Trailer is a family affair. Tuesday, one of Johnston’s aunts was on hand to help, as well as Gail Johnston, Paige’s mother. “I’m so proud of her and happy.”

The donations that fuel the trailer are stored at Gail Johnston’s house right now, and that’s not her only contribution. “I help her organize. I try to support her in every way.”

The Boundless Trailer is a 501(c)3 and Paige Johnston has big plans to expand. “I would love to have, like, a fleet of campers so we can bring like, a community on wheels and expand to a mobile medical clinic and a mobile shower trailer.”

Johnston is currently earning a degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Southwest Tech in Fennimore, Wisconsin. “My dream would be that The Boundless Trailer gets the funding it needs, and this becomes my full time job.”

“I just love the idea of serving people,” said Johnston.

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