A Pastor based in Augusta, Ga. is taking his sermon outside and he is not only feeding the soul, he is also serving a Thanksgiving dinner.
Pastor Roger Gardner from the New Hope Worship Center goes straight to those in need and meets them in an unlikely place – under a bridge.
“They [the homeless] live in small communities under the bridges and downtown in the abandoned buildings and homes,” Gardner told Fox News’ Lauren Green.
Gardner says their Bridge Ministry has gained a lot of traction in Augusta.
“We see them as a soul, as a human being … they are our brothers and sisters"
- Pastor Roger Gardner
“It started out very, very small with 50 people and a few volunteers and just a very small meal … a minister [preached] the Gospel to them … it just really grew to a large service,” said Gardner.
Gardner meets his parishioners under the 15th Street Bridge in Augusta every Saturday. On average “300 to 350” people come to meet with the Bridge Ministry.
For the past several years they have volunteered their Saturdays before Thanksgiving to help less fortunate families by giving out food and clothing.
“Last Saturday we had about 400 volunteers show up and we feed about 1,500 people … we usually grow about 200 a year but it seems there is more desperation in our nation today than there was a year ago,” said Gardner.
The Bridge Ministry also had a food pantry for those in need. “The food pantry has exploded in the past year as well … it just people who have lost jobs or in a very desperate situation,” said Gardner.
Gardner says the Bridge Ministry has expanded into other cities around the country. “We’ve started out of Nashville … and we’ve had other people from Florida and South Carolina come to see how we operate the ministry … and help them get started and start the same type of ministries.”
The ministry emphasizes that people shouldn’t turn away from the homeless but embrace them.
“We see them as a soul, as a human being … people have the idea that poverty is being poor and hungry and naked but poverty is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for … they are our brothers and sisters,” said Gardner.
Chris Snyder is a producer for FoxNews.com based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.