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Destin church reaches out to the homeless
DESTIN -- Some people only think of Destin as a wealthy resort town. But the number of homeless there has been growing for years. St. Andrews by the Sea Episcopal Church is reaching out to help.
Here in the kitchen of St. Andrew's by the Sea in Destin, it looks like Sunday dinner at grandma's. Corn, sweet potatoes, and the main dish, roasted ham. The people who are eating this meal say it means more than you can imagine.
Outside, a hot meal can be as rare as a stranger who looks you in the eye. In here, it's different.
Doug Haynes "They treat you like family. I've never heard them say a harsh word to anyone."
Members of this Episcopal church sign up to bring dishes, just like they would for a potluck. They've been doing it for thirteen years.
Red Dog "When you come down here, you ain't got a place and you're out there at the docks, you're working, and people come down there and see you and come and tell you well, come to the church here."
Roy Rowell, who calls himself "Red Dog", may be St. Andrew's biggest booster. He'll tell you about their bicycle ministry, where volunteers refurbished and gave out more than 500 sets of wheels last year. The church has set up a clothes closet, a food pantry, and perhaps just as important, an indoor shower.
Doug Haynes "If you can't keep yourself clean, nobody's even going to consider putting you to work."
Some of the people who get help are on the street, others are on the edge. This meal comes with no questions asked.
Red Dog "The same people comes here every Monday 'cause they unfortunately need help too."
Money is tight; the church does as much as it can. Volunteers say it truly is a calling, and the reward is how it makes them feel.
Kathy McGee/Vestry member "Fabulous. Makes my heart sing, makes my heart sing."
One thing about this meal that was really special to me, and I want to show you no paper plates.