Larry Martin stood in the parking lot of the SafeHouse in Columbus Sunday afternoon and pointed to different people gathered there.
“Look at all those smiles,” said the 56-year-old man. “When you look good, you feel good.”
Martin was among more than 200 homeless people who came to a special event to receive new shoes donated by the Columbus Association of Motorcyclist, a group consisting of 10 different local motorcycle clubs.
“This is something that really lifts your spirits,” Martin said.
Not only were new shoes and socks distributed, but free haircuts were also given away by different stylists, blood pressure checks were given by the Columbus Fire Department and food was provided by Country’s Barbecue.
SafeHouse is a resource center located in the Rose Hill United Methodist on Hamilton Road and it is operated by Safe House Ministries of which Neil Richardson is the director.
“The hardest thing for the homeless to come by are good shoes,” said Richardson, shortly after a woman came up to him to proudly showed off the new ones on her child’s feet.
“We had 200 people sign up but many more came today,” he said. “Thanks to CAM we had more than enough.”
Scott Henderson, CAM’s chairman of the board, said a large steel tool chest was raffled off to help raise funds and members of the organization collected shoes for about two months. He said Dollar General was a “big help.”
“We wanted to do something to help others and improve the image of motorcycle riders,” he said. “You know there are bars and restaurants that don’t want us. We are trying to find ways to help others in the community.”
Numerous CAM riders began the event by driving from the Chattahoochee Harley Davidson dealership on Williams Road to SafeHouse.
One homeless man, who did not want his name used, was thrilled and said he had never seen so many motorcycles.
“This is really something,” he said, wearing his new shoes and holding old ones.
As for the event, he smiled, and called it a “blessing.”