Memorial Service Honors 58 Homeless People Who Died in Broward Last Year

memorial serviceThe bell tolled for each name.

With each name I noticed him sobbing. Tears, large wet ones, fell from his face into his lap. His scarred face was bent over and he covered his eyes in shame. More than once he apologized to the other homeless persons sitting next to him.

The annual Homeless Person’s Memorial Day Service held at Christ Church on December 11 was an amazing act of love and grace for people whose time on this earth had faded away without even a notice.

As each name was read aloud, the bell tolled and someone rose (homeless or not) and walked to the front to hang an ornament on a Christmas tree in remembrance of a life lost.

It started…

David A., a bell toll and an ornament hung…

Lonnie A., a bell toll and an ornament hung…

Lacy W., a bell toll and an ornament hung…

Valda Y., a bell toll and an ornament hung…

The bell tolled 58 times in total. Each name read was a person who lost his or her life in 2014 while living homeless on the streets of Broward County.

After the service was complete, 236 men and women who were homeless enjoyed a delicious meal served by Christ Church and dozens of volunteers. The service was a ministry of Hope South Florida and its partner churches who have silently been providing food four nights a week (soon to be five) for the last five years. These meals are provided within church buildings and around tables set with love.

While the City of Fort Lauderdale has gained a bad reputation for its recent decisions on food being shared outdoors, in parks and at the beach, HOPE South Florida and its partner churches operate within the bounds of the law to improve the lives of the homeless and provide hope.

Working together with churches and volunteers throughout the community, HOPE South Florida provides more than 46,800 shared meals annually for homeless men, women and children.

Similar to this special service, the meals are a doorway to a longer term solution to their needs as they provide access to IDs, clothing, backpacks, work boots and often to shelter. For more information about Hope South  Florida and how you can be a part of the solution, visit HOPESouthFlorida.org.

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