GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man who used to be homeless, sometimes going days without a meal and begging for food, is now helping feed homeless people he was once living among.
WSPA-TV reports that John “Redd” Martin, of Greenville, and his wife Cassandra run an organization called Sunday Dinner Inc. where they feed homeless people meals on Sundays. For Martin, the group's mission stems from his very real memories and experiences of being homeless.
“I remember days where I had to eat out of trash cans,” Martin told WSPA-TV.
Martin met his wife Cassandra six years ago. Martin was still homeless at the time but said Cassandra showed him love. He said he had started using drugs and alcohol when he was 13 and had previously attempted suicide. But when he met his future wife he said: “She made me feel different.”
The two began volunteering together at a recovery house for men and during that time his wife relayed how she and her family had always spent Sunday dinners with their grandmother who cooked. That sparked the concept of cooking Sunday meals for homeless people.
Now they and several volunteers feed about 125 plates of food to homeless people in Greenville. His wife does the cooking and volunteers help box it up and deliver the meals. The group also provides items such as toiletries or helps them do their laundry or take them to the Department of Motor Vehicles or various medical appointments.
“We ride around town, go to places where I used to be homeless at and where the people are,” Martin told the station. “And these people, they’re people. And they’re God’s people. And we just love them and we show them that they’re human.”
Volunteers who assist the group say it has been eye-opening to them to meet homeless people and hear about their experiences. Many talk about how it's changed their perception of homeless people.
Volunteer Rebekah Davis told the station that before she started volunteering there she thought people were homeless by choice. Through her volunteer work she's met people who work five days a week but still don't make enough money to live.
“They are hard workers. They’re human just like we are. I think it’s very important that we treat them like humans and let them know that they are loved," she said.