From the pulpit to the pavement
NMOBC, MODCO and VA hosts Homeless Veteran’s Give Back Day Stand Down
“We have a postal motto – rain, snow, sleet or shine, we will serve the homeless every third Sunday!”
– Mrs. Margaret Roseburr, chair of the (NMOBC) Homeless Ministry
By Yolonda Reed
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 arrived overcast and promising rain. That didn’t detour the New Mount Olive Baptist Church’s (NMOBC) Homeless ministry and Mount Olive Development Corp. (MODCO) from hosting their second annual Homeless Veterans Give Back Day Stand Down. Both ministries, along with the Veteran’s Administration, volunteers, and over 40 community-based organizations (CBOs), turned up and turned Joseph C. Carter Park’s Gym into a one-stop shop to assist Broward County’s homeless vets and the homeless population in general. Everything – from showers to an outreach clinic, haircuts to manicures and massages, food and clothes to HIV testing – was readily available for those that served our country from as far back as World War II!
Hundreds of the homeless community showed up for this amazing event. Sharon Bryant, director of operations and property management of MODCO, stated, “I thought the event was phenomenal! Virtually everyone there was able to get food, clothes, dental and medical services. The director of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Parks and Recreations division wants us back every year! The highlight for me was when we were able to help save a man’s life due to his low blood pressure.”
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) co-hosted the event and even provided a medical outreach clinic that included dental, mental health and medical screenings, and an onsite pharmacy. Dr. Weiss, D.D. of the Fort Lauderdale VA, and his staff under Dr. Greenburg, came ready to address acute patients and tend to wound care.
People came by foot, bus, car and vans were provided by NMOBC. A continental break-fast was served and members of Dillard High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard presented the flag. One vet, Hubert Rozier, with oxygen machine in tow, came out extra early and was the first person in line. Mr. Rozier’s military pension was cut off two years ago when he began receiving SSI. “It’s very hard trying to live off SSI,” Rozier stated. He was linked up with the Department of Veterans Affairs, where Carlos Gabino spoke with Rozier and scheduled an appointment for him to come in. “We know what happened and we will help him,” Gabino stated.
Once the doors opened the community was able to help themselves to clothing, food bags, blankets, showers, hair-cuts, manicures and massages. Across the hall they received medical assistance and Broward House had their HIV testing van on site for confidential HIV testing. Bridgett Simpson, senior admissions advisor of the International School of Health, Beauty and Technology (ISHBT), provided barbers, nail techs, and massage therapists. With a smile on her face as she watched vets go from haggard to handsome, she stated, “We participate in all events. This is our passion – providing a service to the community.” The school is open six days a week. Simpson, who has been at the school for five years, gave this guarantee: “I guarantee you won’t look or feel the same way as you came in.” The smiles of gratitude from the dozens of people who took advantage of the school’s services give credibility to that statement!
Ms. Kersandra Cone Brooks, a 21-year Army veteran, was in attendance for this event. She stated that Veteran benefits were the best thing that ever happened to her. “I was a part of the drug war at Port Everglades for nine years before being snatched up and sent to the Gulf War. I served 71-Lima.” As a result of that war, Mrs. Brooks became 100 percent disabled, allowing her to receive 100 percent service connected benefits.
The numbers of CBOs avail-able to assist the homeless community and vets specifically were abundant and a full list of agencies that provide everything from housing and utilities assistance, transportation, and assisted living devices are available at 2-1-1. Wayne Barton, founder and CEO of Wayne Barton Study Center in Boca Raton, donated $3,000 dollars worth of food for an incredible lunch, which fed over 300 people.
Rev. Dr. Rosalind Osgood, president and CEO of MODCO, gave the following statement: “This ministry started three years ago. It has grown from a church event to a community event. Pastor Davidson had a vision to expand. Different members, to include over 50 community-based organizations including the VA, Broward Health, Omega Psi Phi, BSO and various other groups came together to make this work. Various ministries of New Mount Olive Baptist Church are involved – Deacon and Deaconess Ministry, Us-hers, Prayer, Christian Education and Counseling and the Transportation ministry are intricately involved also. It’s a true picture of community. It’s a community of care. All sectors of the community coming together to move from the pulpit to the pavement to meet the needs of our homeless brothers and sisters.”
Dr. Osgood continued by saying, “In the next five years, I see this on the third Saturday of November; we will have the resources to move the homeless into housing. When I leave here, I have tears in my eyes because they are still homeless. We are trying to work with the County to eliminate homelessness. I believe God delivers us from something so that we can go back and help others. So that’s what I do. We have about 3,500 kids that are homeless – at shelters and under the bridge. My goal next year is to connect with the School Board.”
Speaking of plans for next year, the representatives from the VA were very happy. They want to do this again next year – for 48 hours! Dr. Greenburg, the VA representative stated that this was the best year yet!
The NMOBC Homeless Ministry feeds the homeless at Stranahan Park, 10 E. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. every third Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. – Proverbs 19:17