Strangers help mother clean home in bus to get children back


by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 5, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 11:50 AM

SPLENDORA, Texas—Volunteers are helping a mother get her kids back from Child Protective Services after they were found living in filth inside an abandoned school bus.

Several volunteers have offered to help improve the living conditions of Sherrie Shorten’s property in the woods so that her family can be reunited.

"It’s just in our blood to help folks," said Justin Evans, one of the volunteers.

Most admit something else pricked their hearts. Something else pushed people like Stan Winter, a Houston land planner, to write fire plans and install smoke detectors on an old school bus.

"We feel our purpose is to serve and not judge and this is an opportunity to help someone out," Winter said.

Shorten’s children are in foster care. In March, a mail carrier found them alone living in filth. Their father is in prison and Shorten was recently released. The children’s guardian worked long hours. 

So, CPS stepped in and took custody. Now that she is home, Shorten wants a second chance.

"First of all, I have to clean up everything," Shorten said.

Last week, she showed us great progress inside the bus, which is her family’s living quarters.  However, it was not enough to get her kids back yet.

"I followed that story when it first came out in the news and it seemed like there was so much publicity on interested parties just because it was an interesting story," said Jeff Lokey, a volunteer.  "I thought somebody needs to take a positive light to it."

So, Lokey emailed his Friday morning prayer and bible study pals asking them to help.

"God says to take care of the children and their mothers," said Christi Evans, another volunteer.

In less than an hour, those volunteers turned what was considered filth into perhaps a small miracle.

"I’m blessed, very blessed," Shorten said.

What would have take months to clean will be finished in one weekend. 

"God has sent angels to me," Shorten said.

The group has even started a website,, to help deliver continued support.