Over 300 homeless people from throughout the Metro will be treated as VIPs in September at a special lunch supported by volunteers from over 50 churches, as well as a number of businesses.
The third “Matthew Lunch,” will be hosted at the Newton Park Methodist Church on September 20. Guests will be treated to a bus ride past the ocean, a hot shower, hearty lunch, new clothes, gifts and a haircut.
Numbers have grown from 56 guests in 2008 to 200 in 2013, and now 300 in 2014.
This year buses will bring 250 people from Kleinskool, 10 from the City Centre and 40 from West End Baptist Church to the Newton Park Methodist Church.
It is the brainchild of Graham Ries, who was once homeless himself.
The vision for the Matthew Lunch is inspired by the Gospel of Matthew, which urges believers to “show God’s love and heart for the poor, the lonely and the destitute (Matthew 22:8-10 25:35-40) by serving and opening up our hearts to them, just as Jesus opens His Heart to us.
“All it took to turn around my life was for others to see the value in me as a person.”
The Matthew Lunch does just that – it helps the poor and the broken to see themselves in a different light.
“Just serving lunch and helping the destitute to clean themselves up and put on fresh clothes gives many hope and fresh confidence to go out and find a job,” he says.
“Donations of clothes, toiletries, bags, food and “goodies” for gifts have poured in from churches, companies and individuals throughout the Metro,” he says, “but more are still needed”.
Ries is exploring ways of expanding the ministry to help the destitute to help themselves by preparing them to re-enter the job market, to get their first job, or to start a micro business.
“This is but one of 40 such outreaches” says Ries, who invites you to go to www.thematthewlunch.co.za.
“We would also like to host the Matthew Lunch more than once a year,” he says.
“Please contact me,” he asks, “because I cannot do this alone. I really need your help please.”
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