An Outpouring of Love Under a Bridge for the Homeless – “This is Christmas” remarks Pastor Fred
Yesterday a story ran on WDSU that touched a lot of people…only in a way that God moves people. WDSU reported on a homeless guy named John who was given a hundred bucks. He used some of that money to buy a Christmas tree. John then put the tree up next to his tent to provide hope to his friends under the bridge. Soon after, a city cleaning crew came along and took his Christmas tree, claiming that it violated an ordinance.
Today happens to be the second Saturday of the month where Church of the King through the New Orleans Dream Center provides free meals and medical care to the community and the folks under the bridge near I-10 and St. Charles Ave. As the volunteers worked together under the medical tent, we were all talking about the news story. All of a sudden, we could see that someone had delivered another tree to that very homeless man.
An Angel Shows Up
Her name is “Kelly.” She, too, watched the story and knew that she had to do something. So she took off all of her personal ornaments from her Christmas tree at home, loaded the tree and boxed ornaments into her car, and delivered it this morning to this guy. As Pastor Fred and I began our outreach and “Walk under the Bridge,” we approached Kelly and John as they were decorating the tree.
People Just Started Walking Up
Kelly said, “This could be any of us.” As she shared her story and why she cared so much, the news reporter from WDSU walked up. Then another group of women known as the NOLA Girls appeared offering help. Then another lady came up with hot donuts. As the tree was being finished, a husband and wife rode up on bikes with an amazing story.
He explained that he had also lived under that same bridge in the exact spot we were all standing. He’d owned his own business at one time and then hard times hit him. Now back on his feet, he and his wife saw the story and were there to offer support and love. All of a sudden, a second tree appeared and then someone else dropped off a tree stand for it. As Pastor Fred and I were walking away to visit with more homeless, another group wearing red Christmas hats with bells walked up to help…all of this happened within thirty minutes time.
As a Crowd Comes Together, Christmas Spirit Comes Early
We were overwhelmed. Despite the passing of cars overhead on the busy interstate, you would never know we were all standing under a bridge. As the crowd grew, Pastor Fred looked at me and said, “This is Christmas.”
Two years ago today, Pastor Fred invited me to walk the bridge. The very first words spoken to me by a homeless man were “Merry Christmas.” Those two words of warmth and beauty were not what I expected. And ever since, every moment and every word has been a blessing in so many ways. Today, Christmas came early, once again.
PS. How can you help this Christmas?
Steve, a very good friend of mine at the New Orleans Mission, started a program to help the homeless called “Cards of Hope.” Inspired by Sam at Joey K’s Restaurant, each card is just $5 and gives any homeless person instant access to five days of shelter, food and clothing at the New Orleans Mission – no questions asked. $25 dollars…25 days of hope. All proceeds directly benefit the Mission, which every day serves our homeless, too many of whom are our Veterans. Visit wwww.NewOrleansMission.org to learn more. Restaurants can participate too – the Mission will provide table tents and cards for your customers.