53ºF

Roanoke homeless ministry ramps up as winter blows in

The Least of These using a retired ambulance to help serve people

ROANOKE, Va. – With dangerous wind chills, many are thinking about Southwest Virginia's homeless and one Roanoke group is ramping up their efforts to lend a helping hand.

The Least of These Ministry has been active for about seven years, but this year things are really starting to peak. Dozens of people are reaching out wanting to help which is a departure from the past. They also have a new tool in the tool belt that's making a huge difference

The wind chill Tuesday night was dangerously cold but Dawn Sandoval was not turned away driving around the streets of Roanoke. And two hours prior to that she was also out in front of a group, but in a different setting. Abdoula "Mike" Mubeidin stood in the back, with Dawn to thank.

"They gave me hope, at that time I was at the lowers of my low, lowest point in my life and they gave me something to believe in and at that time I couldn't believe in myself but I believed in the fact that they believed in me," Mudeidin.

They being The Least of These Ministries, a homeless outreach group in Roanoke. Two dozen people turning out Tuesday night to find out how they can help take Dawn's project to the next level. The group seems to be hitting a critical mass.

"God has grown this ministry beyond any vision I could have ever had, I was just a simple person who decided that I wanted to do inner city mission work," Sandoval said.

The winter season is upon us and these folks are game planning how they'll respond. Jackets, blankets and hot food are all in high demand.

."Considering that there's often times business owners and establishments that don't really want some of the homeless folks there, it's been a blessing because we can totally just pull up anywhere," Sandoval said.

It's easy to question whether this actually works. That's where Mike comes in, he has a roof over his head and a job to work, all because of a helping hand.

"To try to do something for myself and for lord, I know I'm only here because of Christ and Belmont, my church family, they've been great, this program has saved my life.," Mubeidin said.

The group is in need of sleeping bags and heavy blankets to pass out around town. You can find more information on their Facebook page.