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New Life Evangelistic Center and volunteers aid the homeless

ST. LOUIS – People came together in downtown St. Louis Saturday to help the homeless and others in need of assistance. The “Spring Fling” as it was called was put on by the New Life Evangelistic Center and took place outside of the group’s now shuttered shelter downtown. 12 churches, additional groups and dozens of volunteers all provided items to the homeless and others in need free of charge. There was everything from food to clothes to blankets and hygiene products. Even free haircuts were available.

Maurice Brown has been homeless for six years. His fiancé Candice reed has been in and out of shelters for some time. They came and got many items that they needed. “It helps because a lot of people nowadays they don’t have food, they don’t have water, they don’t have anybody in their corner so to me the events do help,” said Brown. Bus tickets were one of the most popular items. The tickets are critical to help people get around. “coming to places like this that give me bus tickets, it helps me go out there and find my job and go get my job so I can better myself,” explained Reed. Girl Scouts from Kirkwood donated hundreds of pairs of socks, while the spirit church headed up by former Ram Aeneas Williams brought food and drinks. “It means a lot to me because I like to help the homeless,” said Gosia Swat from Girl Scouts Troop 3523.

New Life officials say even though their shelter has been closed for more than a year, they are still committed to helping the homeless with events like this one. “We want to let the homeless know that we haven’t forgotten about them, we are still reaching out,” said Ray Redlich, the Assistant Director of the New Life Evangelistic Center. Homeless man Stanley Johnson added, “help us. We’re not asking for a hand out, we’re asking for a hand up.” New Life officials say they still want to reopen their shelter, first as a daytime facility, then as an overnight shelter once again.