BRADENTON -- Organizations such as the Community Coalition on Homelessness, the Bill Galvano One-Stop Center and the Salvation Army operate year-’round as a safety net for those without a home or any idea where they will find their next meal.
But Pastor Jim Parker of Back to the Word Church knows that most folks are so immersed in their own lives and struggles that it can be easy to forget about the plight of the homeless.
His congregation is planning an outreach to the homeless called “A day of hope for a better tomorrow” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the ChurchShare complex at 4200 32nd St. W.
“Everybody thinks about them on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but we know it’s a constant need with these people all year long,” Parker said.
The congregation has been accumulating supplies for the homeless, including tooth brushes and toothpaste from a ocal dentist, hand soap, bread from local super- markets, shoes from New Balance, food from Boar’s Head, clothing and more.
“We are trying bring help to the people who really need it. They kind of think the world has forgotten them, and we are trying to show that isn’t true,” Parker said.
“A lot of it we are handing it out as we see them,” Parker said.
Church member Ginny Cable said that more than a year ago, she and Heather Parker, the pastor’s wife, saw a group of homeless people sitting on a curb and stopped to give them a box of bread.
They have been distributing the bread weekly ever since at that curb.
“It’s an exciting ministry because there are so many homeless people. There is such a need out there,” Cable said.
Church members also make soup, sandwiches, pasta and “whatever we can within our reach,” and deliver it to the homeless, Cable said.
“It doesn’t matter where they are, we will take it to the people who need it,” she said.
Heather Parker, who serves as church treasurer, said the congregation is also seeking items from the community that it can share during its homeless outreach.
“We are working on getting backpacks for them that will be filled with personal items that we think they could use,” Heather Parker said in an email.
“At this event we will have live music, kids’ games, food, and giveaways,” she said.
Back to the Word Church grew out of a weekday Bible study group at a member’s home. The congregation worships at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays.
For more information on the outreach or to help, call Jim Parker at 773-7081.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.