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Outreach to serve homeless on Thanksgiving

“You don’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” ó Anonymous
By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
Velva Carter, a prophetess and member of Outreach Christian Ministries in Salisbury, is organizing a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless at the West Horah Street church Nov. 26.
Carter, of Charlotte, was once homeless and now wants feed those who may be hungry just as she once was.
This is the first organized Thanksgiving meal through the church, which is located at 722 West Horah St.
The meal will be served from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. or until the food is gone.
A few years ago, Carter was living out of her car in Florida and trying to escape her marriage.
“I remember when I was homeless and in an abusive relationship,” she said.
Carter said she feels her ministry is to see people who are hungry get fed, because she was in the same position.
“Maybe those people experienced what I went through,” she said.
Each Saturday, she and other church members prepare meals at the church to raise money for local programs and feeding programs Africa.
“I love serving,” she said.
It was Carter’s violent marriage that eventually led her to flee Florida. She said she endured years of abuse. One day she decided she could not take it anymore, and she left.
She found herself homeless and “trying to make it.” She lived out of her car for about three months.
Her husband died in an automobile accident. She later remarried in 2000 only to find herself in another destructive marriage.
She left her home in North Florida, which was, “in faith … a blind journey,” to come to North Carolina.
A church member, Donncella Thomas, of Gainesville, Fla., provided money so that Carter could drive to North Carolina while she left her daughters, LaTisha, now 14, and Alayah, now 12, with a family friend.
“Even in this, the Lord blessed me,” she said.
She stayed in a hotel for a few weeks until she was able to find an apartment and return with her daughters.
“I didn’t know how I was going to make it,” she said.
Donncella Thomas also provided the apartment.
Carter knows what it means to struggle without food or money.
“A lot of people misjudge homeless people. The best of us have a problem, not because we mismanage but because it just happens,” she said.
“We should respect a person who is homeless, especially if you’ve never been there.”
During her family’s first Thanksgiving in Charlotte in 2008, they found themselves with no food. Apostle Deborah Gibson, who fellowships with Outreach Christian Ministries, invited Carter’s family to Thanksgiving dinner.
“I do have a heart, a love and compassion for those who are experiencing the same situation,” Carter said.
This holiday season, she thought back to when someone gave her food to eat.
Her ultimate desire is to provide a home for battered women and men, jobs for the unemployed, a rehabilitation center and therapy for people in need of counseling.
She met Apostle R.E. Taylor, pastor of Outreach Christian Ministries, in 2005 through a church service in Gainesville, Fla.
“I thank God for his compassion, understanding, his love for the people of God and his leadership,” she said.
“I am grateful for God establishing Ray Taylor in Salisbury. In my days of ministry, I’ve found him to be the greatest leader of all time,” Carter said.
“This is my dream. This is what I live for,” she said of the Thanksgiving meal.
“I’m doing this because it’s a God thing,” Carter said.
For more information about Outreach Christian Ministries’ Thanksgiving meal, contact Carter at 704-900-8541 or the church at 704-637-9955.
Others serving on Thanksgiving Day
The following are also feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26:
– Providence Baptist Church, 620 Andrews St., East Spencer, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
– Salisbury Gardens Assisted Living and Pub 1504 are co-sponsoring an event for families or Rowan County residents that may be in need. Food will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Pub 1504, 1504 W. Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury. For more information, contact Margaret Cabell at 704-636-0588.
– Nazareth Children’s Home will provide lunch for Rowan Helping Ministries on Nov. 26-Nov. 29 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.. Other churches and organizations are providing breakfast and dinner at the shelter that day.
For more information, contact Rowan Helping Ministries at 704-637-6838.
– Love Christian Center, 102 N. Long St., East Spencer, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. For those people who are homebound, contact Edith Downs at 704-267-8648 for delivery.
If your church or organization is providing a Thanksgiving meal, please contact Salisbury Post reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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