EricBelk

Eric

Meet Eric. Waxhaw native. Singer. Comic. Skilled machinist. Delivered from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Homeless since 2008. Friend to his neighbors on the street. Known as “Pops.”READ MORE

Hezekiah

Hezekiah

Hezekiah’s life has led him across a spectrum of successes and struggles. His prowess on the football field led to a stint as a semi-pro player and a earned him membership into the 1980 National Football Foundation Hall of Fame (pictured in the ceremony program).

He spent 6 years serving our country as a US Army drill sergeant. And he has also painfully endured the death of two wives from cancer, addiction battles and homelessness.

But, Hezekiah has hope thanks to the Dream Center and The King’s Kitchen & Bakery, where he works as a dishwasher and attends daily Bible studies. “I’m finally finding some kind of peace. I’m able to deal with situations in my past from perspective. Old demons that used to set me off don’t have as much of an effect on me,” he says.

ShawnMassey

Shawn

Shawn’s is a story of forgiveness and hope. After serving 12 years in prison following a wrongful conviction, Shawn was exonerated, thanks to the help of a team from the Duke University School of Law committed to helping those misidentified and wrongfully prosecuted, in 2010. But his situation leaves him feeling as though he is still in prison here in Charlotte.READ MORE

Elaine

Elaine

Elaine survived an 11-year long addiction as well as a suicide attempt. Elaine questioned God, “Why won’t you let me die?” She told God that if He was allowing her to live, He would have to show her how to do it.

Now, Elaine spends her days walking through Uptown Charlotte and saying prayers for people she meets, encouraging them and reminding them of God’s great love for us. As a woman on the street, Elaine has been shown God’s protection time and time again.

After ministering on the street for 7 years, Elaine was introduced to The King’s Kitchen & Bakery through a friend. At the time, she was searching for a place to learn and grow in her faith. “This place, it’s a family,” she proclaims proudly. “Everyone is willing to do whatever needs to be done.” For Elaine, that means cleaning the bathrooms every Sunday. And doing so with a smile, encouraging word and prayer.

Paul DC

Paul

When it comes to homelessness, Paul wants to tell people, “Treat me like a human being.”

Paul knows about tenacity. A Canadian Native American, Paul killed a bear with a bow and arrow at just 13 years old (pictured below in one of his proudest photos).

Homeless in Charlotte for three years, Paul has been a part of The King’s Kitchen & Bakery and Restoring Place Church for the past year. “I was looking for a church and a safe place where I wasn’t looked at funny or turned away. I’m just trying to worship God. I’m allowed to do that right?”

Paul admits that homeless is a struggle. Particularly when it comes to the way the homeless are treated. “I get tired of seeing people warn other people about homeless people, as though we’re all dangerous,” he says. “A lot of parents do that to their kids. It’s hard.”

His life goals are simple: Get things done in this city. He admits that injustice is hurting people, and he’s committed to ending that. Charlotte is known to many people as a city of family values, and Paul, having seen both hope and hopelessness, desires to see those values authenticated everywhere.

Reggie

Reggie

Reggie has been homeless in Charlotte for 8 years. 2 years ago he heard about The King’s Kitchen & Bakery and walked through the doors for the first time to attend church services on a Sunday.

Reggie doesn’t want to be defined by his homelessness, however. He loves tennis, Gladys Knight, teaching geometry and wind waves, martial arts, and Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He laughs when he says that he loves drawing eggs (a recent drawing is featured in his picture below) and that if he could do anything with his life he would stop smoking and become a math and science teacher.

During his time with the Dream Center, Reggie has received help from other men in the program and been able to get his ID and social security card. Even more importantly, “The Dream Center has given me a chance to talk about spiritual issues and dilemmas and helped me deal with and direct my anger,” he said. “They are my friends here.”

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Kevin

Kevin has been homeless since the age of 13 – more than 30 years ago. Since then, he’s been nicknamed “Slim” on the street and created a home for himself at the bus stop by Discovery Place where he stays 5 nights a week.

About homelessness, Kevin says, “You ask yourself, ‘What am I doing? Did you put me out for a purpose? Did you make me homeless?’ Not doing anything gets to you. It’s like your life doesn’t mean anything. You sit there morning and night, go get something to eat, sit, wait for people to give you money and then keep going.”

Kevin found out about The King’s Kitchen & Bakery and the Dream Center through a volunteer at a local church. Since then he’s attended Bible study as well as Restoring Place Church. “They actually care about you like you’re part of the family. They pray for you, sit down and talk with you, and give people opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Kevin says.