It's one thing to know the story of what Love and Care Ministries is – a place where the homeless and needy can get food, clothing, medical attention.
But it's another to know who Love and Care Ministries is. One man, Larry Hulse, has come to embody the heart of the ministry.
He works for Love and Care Ministries each day in its clothing center, but there was a time that he went there to get help, not to give it.
“When I was first homeless, I stayed in the woods down there by TSTC. All I had was a sleeping bag and then this guy told me about Love and Care because I had no idea about it,” Hulse said.
Hulse started coming to Love and Care Ministries for help while he was looking for a work. He didn’t know how close he was to that new job.
“I was volunteering every day and going and putting in applications in the afternoon,” Hulse said. “One day Mick (a director at the ministries) called me into the office and told me that they hired me.
"I started to cry because I was trying every day. I was walking all the way out there by the mall, about six miles, putting applications in.”
Now Hulse spends each day giving back to those who are struggling like he was.
“I feel blessed to be able to help them,” Hulse said. “When they’re having a bad day, I’ll talk to them and try to cheer them up. If they need something I’ll try to go and find it.
“Like there was this one time, we didn’t have the size shoe for this man and his shoes were coming apart, so I gave him my shoes and then took a pair off the shelf that would fit me.”
“I know what they go through, so I try to help them any way I can.”
In spite of all he’s been through, Hulse calls himself ‘blessed’ for what he has now, which includes his own apartment.
"Oh, it’s nice. It’s got central AC and heat,” he said.
But Hulse says he’ll never forget what it was like not that long ago.
“I know what it’s like being out there,” Hulse said. “Sleeping under bridges, in the woods, or finding wherever else to sleep. It’s hard to go to sleep wondering if someone’s gonna walk up on you or if something’s gonna happen. I don’t know where I’d be without Love and Care.”
Each year Love and Care Ministries has their Mission Thanksgiving donation drive to restock their food and clothing supplies. For all the information on this year's event, CLICK HERE.