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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hate and Hope in Fort Lauderdale

HIA reported recently the senseless killing of a homeless Cleveland man early this summer by teen suspects. (See Wednesday, July 9, 2008, Caught on Video Tape). About two years ago a parallel hate crime occurred in South Florida. A surveillance video captured images of a similar situation; a homeless man being savagely beaten in the Fort Lauderdale area of South Florida by two teenage suspects. Both were charged with the murder of Norris Gaynor and aggravated battery for the videotaped beating of another homeless man - Jacques Pierre. The two teens are also suspects in the beating of a third man, Raymond Perez, 49, whose case remains under investigation. One of the attacks took place on the Fort Lauderdale campus of Florida Atlantic University.

Since that time, Frs. John and Larry from the Fathers of Divine Mercy have begun to personally console the homeless in South Florida and offer them hope. Weekly they distribute sandwiches, soda and crackers to those who gather in front of Fort Lauderdale City Hall. About a year ago, they found 20 people hungry and waiting. Now they make over 90 sandwiches along with three pans of hot food such as Shepherd's Pie. They also give out socks and sneakers - all donated by friends of the ministry. They are joined by Frank who cooks winning recipes from a restaurant he was a chef at in Massachusetts. Almost daily, the numbers of homeless continue to increase. With limited funds and facilities, John, Larry and Frank do their best with the donations received and make the ingredients go longer and farther due to some very creative cooking in their home kitchens! Thanks be to God, many like them respond to the call to serve Christ in the poor across the U.S. where it is estimated that 3 million people are homeless annually.

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