Bowling Green, KY – A Bowling Green woman has found a way to help the homeless by giving them a warm welcome and a warm blanket.
Kris Bridgman has handed out 1,000 blankets and warm clothing over the past two years as part of a blanket ministry that seeks out homeless in the area.
Bridgman spends her days searching for the homeless during cold weather months.
She looks around bridges, parks, shelters and abandoned buildings, handing out blankets and gloves. When she started her ministry, she was shocked to find a large homeless population in Bowling Green.
"There's a sweet soul to these people," she told The Daily News in Bowling Green. "I didn't even think we had any (homeless people). Every day you meet somebody new -- every day."
Bridgman helps the homeless stay warm, but she also works to get them on a better path and off the streets.
Anita Stroud had been homeless on-and-off for years before recently getting a low-income apartment.
"That was rough," she said. "We stayed wherever we could, in churches, in the car."
She said she spent the past four months living in barns and camping in fields in Tennessee. After traveling to Bowling Green, she met Bridgman and stayed at The Salvation Army shelter until she could save enough money to make a deposit on the apartment.
A homeless man, who the newspaper identified as Greg, started attending church with Bridgman and said he now feels like he's not alone in Bowling Green, he said. He has been homeless for two years, and moved to Kentucky from Ohio after encountering legal troubles.
His days are spent sitting in public parks and walking the streets, pretending not to notice the stares and whispers, he said.
"People walk all the way around just to avoid you," he said. "That's a hurtful feeling."
He said Bridgman is "a lifesaver."
Bridgman wants to open a mission house for Bowling Green's homeless, giving them a more permanent place to live and offering extensive services, she said.