As temps plunge, volunteers help make life more bearable for the homeless in Columbus

For years, volunteers from throughout the community have helped feed the homeless at SafeHouse in Columbus.

As the temperatures began plunging Tuesday evening into sub-freezing territory, volunteers from Epworth United Church in Columbus staffed the kitchen and serving line, providing a meal of spaghetti, salad, bread and iced tea. It’s something they do monthly, and have done for years.

Church member James Johnson said the effort began several years ago when a former Rose Hill United Methodist Church pastor spoke with Epworth members, describing a ministry he started to help the homeless and needy in the Rose Hill community. Johnson said that’s when Epworth offered to provide a meal once a month.

Linda Laye, the chaplain of Fellowship at Rose Hill said, a local church or organization provides a meal every Tuesday. Each group brings the meal already cooked, and typically serves about 80 people. She said Tuesday’s crowd was larger because SafeHouse was remaining open overnight to serve as an emergency shelter for those seeking a warm place to spend the night.

Rodney Borom made two trips through the serving line, thanking the volunteers as they served his supper. He described himself as homeless, and living on the streets.

“I don’t know how I would feed myself sometimes, you know, if it wasn’t for the SafeHouse,” said Borom, ”and by them opening up tonight I don’t have to sleep out there in the cold weather.

“I’m out there, sometimes I don’t know whether I’m going to wake up in the morning or not because you know when you’re out there sleeping in that weather you’ll freeze to death.”

Borom also said the devotional church group’s lead before dinner is served give him hope.

“You know when they preach the word it gives me hope because I know God is in it,” Borom said. “He’s trying to tell me something, I don’t know exactly what it is, but he’s trying to tell me just hold on.”

Laye said she thinks of the volunteers as the “hands and feet of Jesus.” She leads them in prayer before dinner, hopes they receive a blessing through service and encourages them to share their experiences with others.

“I hope that will lead to us getting more volunteers and more groups that come in, that want to come in and love these people with Jesus’ heart and see them through Jesus’ eyes,” she said.