Friends of the Homeless taking care of Columbus’ men in need

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s the season of giving, and for many, giving their time means so much more than money.

Volunteers are spending the day, getting ready to give back to those who don’t have much at a homeless shelter on the city’s east side, they’re warming their hearts, tummy, and body.

“We’re talking fresh-made pancakes, scrambled eggs, turkey, bacon, sausage, hash browns, fried apples,” said Frederick Horton with Friends of the Homeless. “We have a philosophy that we will not feed anything we will not feed ourselves.”

And with that philosophy, they’ll be feeding nearly 150 men at the Friends of the Homeless on East Main Street and Carpenter Christmas morning.

Their giving back like this started a long time ago with a simple message.

“We have been doing this for a little over 15 years,” said Sylvia Horton with Friends of the Homeless. “It started out as a project for my children, teaching them that Christmas is about giving and not receiving.”

Horton said the first year they cooked, it was just her family preparing breakfast for the 150 men who sleep at the shelter. Each year since, more volunteers, more families, even strangers sign up to cook and serve those who don’t know where the next meal is coming from.

For some of the volunteers, giving is their Christmas gift.

“We start at 5 o’clock in the morning, so even at 5 o’clock in the morning, the energy is charged, it’s pumped,” said volunteer Michele Orr. “So at 7 o’clock, when we prepare this fresh meal with our hands, the hands of love, they get to receive that, so it’s exciting.”

Organizers said Friends of the Homeless is the only shelter in Columbus that doesn’t have a fully equipped kitchen, which is why they serve Christmas breakfast every year. When the men wake up, they smell bacon, hash browns, and love in the air.

But it’s not just about Christmas day. The volunteers want to make sure each man gets some warm clothes to last the entire season.

“This facility is here,” Horton said. “It housed 150 men in need of everything. Everything from hats and coats to gloves. It’s cold, they need shoes.”

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