Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekend Gratitude: Homeless Outreach in Downtown Orlando

A Saturday night.
Downtown Orlando, across from Lake Eola.
Over 60 volunteers.
About 200 homeless folks.
Hot dinner.  Snacks bags.
Toiletries.  First aid kits.
Clothes.  Blankets.  Sleeping bags.
Love in action.

Tables lined up with all the good stuff!
(Photo edited with the funky HDR-ish option in Picasa)

Side windows at St. George Greek Orthodox Church
(Many church groups use the parking lot for feeding the homeless
We had to move up to an adjacent sidewalk 

since the lot was needed for an event.)
Pillars at the front of St. George Greek Orthodox Church
This is my 
 P52 / Sweet Shot Tuesday photo submission.

Fountain at Lake Eola

a former cocaine addict,
is now a believer in Jesus, 

and feeds the homeless
several times a week in Orlando.
You can find him at

Would your church or organization 

like to help out occasionally?
It takes a bunch to keep this going!
My beautiful daughter Julia publicized the event,
gathered and organized food, toiletries, clothing and bedding,
and recruited a bunch of volunteers from her church.
Many other volunteers came from First Baptist
(they brought the hot meal),
and a few, like me, from other churches.
I'm so glad we could partner with others at a time
when homeless normally come for a meal anyway.
My son-in-law Alex, Michael, Julia, and Allura
(who has been a wonderful ministry mentor to Julia)
Sorry for the lighting problems on this photo!

Michael chatting with a patron at the clothes table --
lots of conversations going on around here!
Folks are starting to line up to eat

In addition to a hot meal and dessert,
we handed out snack bags.
A few camellias from my backyard
to grace the food table --
because Beauty is the handmaiden
of Justice and Mercy.

Bins of toiletries in ziplock bags --
some for men and some for women!

In addition to the toiletries, we also handed
out 60 first aid bags that were assembled
by my home school co-op students.
The supplies were donated by a family friend.
Everyone seemed really thankful for them!
My 11 year old daughter, who is in my co-op class, is on the left.
My 21 year old daughter Rachel joined us, too.
I loved having three of my daughters there!
So good to see them involved in doing good!

Some of the 60 or so volunteers.
On the right, my dear and longtime friend Donna
with her daughter,
who was one of my co-op students a while back!
This dear man was the recipient of many
homeless feedings for years.
Now he loves Jesus and
ministers to the homeless with Michael.
I can't remember his name,
but he is being featured in a documentary
about the homeless that will be shown
at the OLA film festival next month.

Danny, a pastor,
brought a Bible encouragement to the crowd
before the meal, and afterwards, prayed with the volunteers.

I am grateful.
For a home.

For food.
For clothes.
For family.
For friends.
For church.
For Jesus.

How about you?

Virginia Knowles

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  1. This looks like an amazing day! Bless you for participating in this great outreach opportunity. I had read about an idea to order free samples of any type of toiletry you could, and the put them in snack-sized ziploc bags to pass out whenever the need arose. While there really isn't a need for them where we live, I figure that I would do this when we travel to a city for our anniversary this summer and I also try to pass the idea along whenever it's appropriate.

  2. Thank you for sharing - truly a window into the love of Jesus.

  3. I saw Julia's photos of this but had not seen your post. Very nice. I'm starting P52 again and just sent my photo in.

  4. Enjoyed reading this so much. We made food and served it one time at that Greek Orthodox church. Very meaningful. So thankful for you and your family's wonderful ideas and service there!


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