12/29/2011 01:26 pm ET

Operation Santa's Soldiers: Formerly Homeless Sergeant Donates Jackets, Boots To People Living On The Streets

Though Sgt. Joshua Evans has left his homeless days of sleeping in a car with his wife behind, he hasn't forgotten about those who are living on Minnesota's frigid streets.

Just six years ago, Evans lost his job, home and had to send his daughter to live with his in-laws, reports. Today, the 33-year-old is finishing up his second deployment in Kuwait and growing the nonprofit he recently launched, Operation: Santa's Soldiers. The organization provides warm coats and boots to those in need.

"I want this to go on in a pay-it-forward kind of way," Evans told

Evans thought of the idea while he was serving and asked his fellow service members to donate money to buy warm gear for the homeless. During its first year, the nonprofit raised enough funds to buy 60 pairs of boots and 60 jackets for people living in Minnesota's Simpson Housing Shelter, according to KSTP.

"It took courage for him to share his story and to make something good of it," Julie Manworren, executive director of Simpson Housing Shelter, told the news outlet. "That kind of courage has a ripple effect."

For more information about Operation: Santa's Soldiers and how you can get involved, click here.