Vital Ministries giving hope to the homeless on Black Friday
On Friday, November 29, Vital Ministries once again coordinated a “Black Friday” outreach to the homeless community of downtown Des Moines. This year’s efforts were expanded from last year, including multiple sites and nearly 60 volunteers from 6 different Iowa communities.
Based in Pella, Vital Ministries/Vital Men partnered with the Salvation Army, Central Iowa Shelter and Services and Joppa Outreach, coordinating 4 simultaneous events. Men from the six primary Vital Men communities – Pella, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Albia, Newton and Knoxville – as well as various surrounding communities, donated their mornings to volunteering at the E 2nd St location of the Salvation Army and at Central Iowa Shelter and Services, located at 1420 Mulberry.
At these locations, volunteers were able to assist in various tasks - from helping with meals and sorting donations to cleaning and wiping down tables to help avoid the spread of illness. More importantly, they were able to interact directly with the homeless community, through ministry, being a helping hand or simply being a listening ear.
In addition, two teams ventured out directly to the campsites located around downtown and the Des Moines river. Along with volunteers from Joppa Outreach, volunteers distributed portable propane heaters, as well as other much needed supplies - gloves, hats, socks, clean water, etc.
This year's event was an expansion of last year's efforts, including more locations and nearly doubling the number of participants. Their hope is that annually this event will continue to grow as Vital Ministries continues to expand into new churches and communities. Four of the six current locations have been created in just the past year. In the coming months, there will also be Vital Men groups established in two new churches located in Minneapolis, MN and Green Bay, WI.
Through outreach events like this, Vital Ministries is working to remind everyone that not only is the message of hope and love important for the holiday season, but a message that can be furthered throughout the year.
For more information on Vital Ministries, how to get involved/volunteer, or how to begin your own Vital Men’s ministry location, please visit our website - http://www.vitalministries.org.