Local volunteers help homeless beat the heat

Local volunteers help homeless beat the heat

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  The past couple weeks have been hard for Latrice Bowie and others who do not have shelter from the blistering heat. 

"The heat?" Bowie said.  "I can't do nothing about the heat but I try to stay out the heat."

A group of good samaritans from St. James Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus saw an opportunity to give the homeless and less fortunate a helping hand.

"Circumstances should dictate what the church should do," St. James' pastor, Dr. Ralph Huling, said. "In this case, it's hot, and so we realized that these people need water and other things that we can provide." 

Water, however, was only part of what volunteers included inside what they called "blessing bags." One volunteer, Aniyah Walker, said they also packed granola bars, deodorant, wipes, toothbrush,  and mouthwash among other toiletries.

Huling responded to this idea, brainstormed by the church's youth ministry that wanted to put the lesson of compassion into action. The group brought dozens of bags to citizens waiting outside the SafeHouse building inside Rose Hill United Methodist Church on Hamilton Road. 

"Of course, we have to get our youth involved in ministry, and prepare them for ministry, and so they are just as much a part of the church as the elder adults are," said Huling.

That generosity, Bowie said, meant a lot to her. 

"They came out to help us, to you know, keep our spirits up," she said. "And I'm so grateful that they did come out here."

"We'd want to be treated the same way if we were in their position," Aniyah Walker said.

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