We are so excited to introduce you guys to Kyle, our first #FBNWDifferenceMaker!!
When we met Kyle about a month ago we knew immediately that we HAD to share his story. Kyle is making a difference in the local homeless community in LA's Skid Row which also happens to be where the FBNW "headquarters" are located. Homelessness has increased 23% over the last year; there is close to 58,000 homeless in LA County alone. Some are forced to live on the streets because of financial hardships, others find themselves wandering the streets because of a life of narcotics abuse or mental illness.
There are plenty of organizations that are doing their part to help by distributing food and necessities to the homeless, but how many organizations take the time to spend TIME with this population?
Kyle founded Project 54 after he discovered that the best gift that you can give to a homeless person is friendship. Through friendship, Project 54 has been transforming lives. Check out our interview with Kyle to discover the amazing things that his organization has accomplished in just a year or operation
"I've been Christian for over 16 years. I have been married for 7 years and I am the proud father of two girls (3 and 5 years old). I started out my faith in doing worship and music."
Q: What is the issue you are tackling?
A: Our purpose is to help our homeless friends in Skid Row. Fighting the fight against homelessness is such a complex issue to tackle (addiction, poverty, mental illness, etc). Our answer to the fight is Jesus. In the beginning stages of Project 54 Outreach, one of our homeless friends told me, "God can't change Skid Row because he would need people to do his work for him. People come down to Skid Row and give us stuff but they don't care about us." That really hit me hard. So my wife and I decided we needed to do more then just give. We decided everything we do we be involved in their lives. We would get to know them, listen, find out their true needs, and love them. We found out that when you truly love and be involved in the lives of the people you help, that is when true change begins. And of course at the center of everything we do is Jesus.
Q: What are you doing to make a difference in the homeless community?
A: We do monthly Brunches in Skid Row. We have a professional Chef (Kyle Powers) come down and make them amazing food. We have our friend who is a DJ (Kyle Kirtz) play music and we also pass out Bibles and book (addiction and Christian literature). Every book and Bible has a hand written letter of love and encouragement in it from one of volunteers or from a school in the area. We also set up tables and chairs. The purpose is not to just hand out food but actually invite them to dinner. All of our volunteer hang out with homeless and get to know them. To us its more then just food, its about the relationship we built. I can't tell you how many friendships and relationship have been built at these events. We also do a weekly Bible Study and also hold events for some of Shelters in the area.
Q: Why do you believe it's important to continue what you're doing?
A: I think its the call every christian to help his fellow man. Live a life just like Jesus did. Live a life of serving others. If someone is struggle it is our duty and privilege to help them.
Q: Why are your actions important to the people on the receiving end of your act?
A: Because nobody should have to struggle alone. It's heart breaking to have fight by yourself and you feel you invisible to world. We dismiss homeless people so much.
Q: What inspired you to take action?
A: I had an incident happen to me where I thought God was calling me to love the people of Skid Row.
Q: How have your actions affected the recipients' lives?
A: We have had a person who was homeless for 17 years give up his life on the streets. He is now 4 months sober and got his first job living in an upscale community in Orange County. We have had another person get so angry with his partner, he grabbed a knife. Then he looked at the Bible he had and said, "I need to go to Bible study", therefore preventing what could have been a horrific domestic violence scene. Another person, was ready to jump off a bridge and asked God to send him a sign, when our volunteers walked up and asked him to come to Bible study. Every week we ask a woman named Sofia to come to Bible study, her response is always "F**k you!" Finally, after months of asking her, she said, "let me grab my Bible." While I was on the phone with my wife, I pulled up to our office, and a woman came running up to me asking if Bible study was that night. It isn't that we are creating these grandiose experiences for people, it is in the consistency of our presence and the strong foundation of trust that makes a difference.
See how Project 54 transformed the life of New York aka Eric, a now ex-resident of LA's Skid Row district:
For more information about Project54 visit their site project54outreach.org