Taking Their Service on the Road

Meet the family that is volunteering across the country while traveling and living in their RV.

The Blakelys may not have a permanent physical address, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a community.

The family from Western Washington decided three years ago to sell (almost) everything and travel the country in an RV, homeschooling their kids along the way. And while seeing the United States is part of their goal, Malinda and Tim say they also want to cultivate community, in part, by giving back to the towns that welcome them. They did that this week by helping pack and box food at the North Texas Food Bank.

“We love the Lord and that’s what God calls us to do—serve one another,” Tim said.

Malinda, Tim and their children — Kaleb, 14, and Brielle, 12  — started volunteering while traveling on their own and now are ambassadors for Lippert Cares’ seRV, which is a group that works to connect RVers with volunteer opportunities throughout the country. The initiative was organized by Lippert, an RV parts and accessories supplier.

Malinda said she and Tim were very involved in their community in Washington before traveling, particularly in foster care as they were foster parents who adopted their children. On the road, they look for organizations where their teenagers can serve with them, which has often meant they’re giving their time at a food bank.

Prior to volunteering in North Texas, the family served multiple times with food banks in Florida, and earlier this month they gave back at NTFB Partner Agency Hunt County Shared Ministries. At the NTFB’s Perot Family Campus, the Blakelys helped pack Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes for seniors and Food 4 Kids bags for students. They said the experience was impactful and that they were impressed by the organization behind the packing lines.

Whether giving time at a place like NTFB or stopping at national parks and historical landmarks, Tim says they’ve found life on the road provides a more meaningful curriculum for their kids than any book could offer on its own. They’ve visited 24 states and countless sites since embarking on their adventure three years ago.

“We’re definitely learning more on the road,” Tim says. “We didn’t want to wait until we’re retired and could barely walk to travel.”

Find out more about the family and their travels on Instagram @faithfamilyandafifthwheel.

Kathleen Petty is communications manager for the North Texas Food Bank.