Published On: Sat, Nov 23rd, 2019

Dale King

Faith wins out in the continuous effort to help Boca’s needy 

By Dale King

Homelessness is extremely challenging, no matter where it spreads its tentacles.

Most of us have seen video clips of the complications plaguing metropolitan West Coast cities where homelessness has become widespread. The conditions appear to be out of control, and the politicians who have the power, authority and wherewithal to do something about it, seem to be shirking their responsibilities. 

As a result, our fellow human beings – people who could be you and me – are trying to make do by subsisting in makeshift tents without toilet facilities, lacking adequate food and with little, if any, money. These people are living in filth, far worse than anything we’ve seen in our area.

Thankfully, the Boca Raton region has not yet suffered to the same degree as California, Washington State or other places where the number of homeless is soaring.  Nor will it ever, we all hope.  

Lately, my wife and I have been lending our assistance locally to the people who are trying to put an end to homelessness – or who at least are trying to keep it under control.

We were very pleased this past Saturday to join forces with folks gathered at Hughes Park in the Pearl City neighborhood to lend a hand to some people who had worked very hard to gather food and clothing – and just as importantly, prayer – for those in need of a fighting chance to survive.

In the middle of the parking lot was a tent absolutely filled from end to end with pallets of canned goods, bags of foodstuffs, potatoes and other vegetables and a table filled with toiletries. Piles of clothing were also waiting to be taken home.

Nearby, we met Tony Neal, the founder and CEO of Homeless Hearts Community Outreach.  His group was responsible for bringing all these necessities to the park on this very hot day in autumn.  Nearby, volunteers from Pearl City and its environs were cooking up lots of hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecued chicken and serving them on Styrofoam platters with lots of baked beans to feed those who had gathered for a fun-filled afternoon of faith, prayer and fun.

Tony was directing those in the crowd to “take what you need” from the food and clothing stacked in the center.

As he watched the crowd, he explained the purpose of the Homeless Hearts Community Outreach. “It’s a faith-based international outreach organization that operates in a spirit of compassion to restore hope and make an impact in our world by providing food relief, housing assistance and mentoring.”

They give an awful lot. It was obvious that day. But Tony’s group has needs of its own.  A refrigerated truck would be a big help. So would a warehouse site to store donations.

Contributions give them the boost they need to keep on serving the public – the needy and those who could just use an occasional helping hand. He can be reached at 561-809-4749 or online at www.homelessheartsfood.com. 

At the far end of Hughes Park, we could hear the booming voice of Charles Cocklin, a minister of Macedonia AME Church and founder and CEO of the Breaking the Chains Outreach, calling the crowd to prayer. Now there’s a man who has done so much for the community as a whole, and for the folks in Pearl City specifically.

Cocklin’s wife, Kellye, and daughter, Rahkell, both serve as directors of the outreach ministry.

No doubt, Charles led the effort to set up the day’s event called “Jesus in the Park,” a sunny afternoon of prayer, food, music and the sharing of faith.

We headed over to greet the man of religion. By then, he had joined hands with Pastor Patricia Ferguson, a lady of faith from Delray Beach and Candace Rojas, Founder and chairman of the Starz Foundation – an organization designed “to empower women, children and families to shine in everyday life by providing advocacy, mentorship, education, resources and sustainable housing solutions through a neighborhood of caring partners.”

Heading up the impromptu circle of prayer was Sister Linda, a woman who is physically blind, but “can see Jesus” in her mind and soul. She led the group in supplication.

What a day, and what a delightful sight, to see children enjoying games, lines of folks enjoying food and cold drinks and people in need gathering up bags of life’s necessities.

If only the spirit of Pearl City on this warm Boca Raton Saturday could sweep across the nation and salve the bitterness, the abhorrence and selfish motivations that often divide the people of our country.

 

Captions:

1 – Visitors became friends at “Jesus in the Park” day this past weekend. (Photo by Dale King)

2 — Homeless Hearts Community Outreach delivered food and clothing to Hughes Park in Boca Raton this past Saturday. All on hand could take what they needed. (Photo by Dale King) 

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