A rainy Sunday afternoon did not stop the Water Angel Ministries from helping hundreds of people get back on their feet. Around 150 volunteers served hot meals and gave gifts to the area's homeless during the ministry's annual Christmas service.
"After the meal everyone gets a gift," said Stephanie Mitchum, director of the Water Angel Ministries. "That includes a new pair of shoes that someone bought and donated. You don't think about something like shoes, but it could mean hope for them. If a pair of work boots has stopped them from getting a job, this gives them an opportunity and a door that could possibly be opened."
Mitchum said the community donated 600 pairs of shoes to the Water Angel Ministries for the Christmas service.
"It means the world that a stranger would buy them a nice pair of work boots," said Mitchum. "We have seen major life changes from this ministry where people have turned their lives around."
Mitchum and other volunteers said they hope the initial gesture of providing shoes will lead people to take the first step towards a new life path. Water Angel Ministries member Amy Tallent can provide inspiration in her own story of resurrection.
"At the lowest point in my life, I was addicted to crack cocaine, an alcoholic, and I prostituted," said Tallent. "They said you can get some food and some clothes at this ministry and that was my initial reason to come here."
While footing the bill for some basic necessities attracted Tallent, she said it was the compassion of the volunteers who kept her on the right track.
"Even if I was filthy, they would hug me and show me that I was loved. I was able to learn about and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. After a couple of years, I have been clean and sober. I have a job. I am stable. It doesn't happen instantly, but it happened. To me it was a miracle," said Tallent.
Items many of us take for granted such as shoes and socks may help others walk a path that will ultimately allow them to stand on their own two feet.
"One lady said this is the best pair of shoes she has ever owned. It could mean hope for them," said Mitchum.