Did you know that Cleveland is the second poorest big city in the country, with one out of three Clevelanders living in poverty? Here in our city more than half of the children live in poverty, and over 20,000 homeless people live on the streets of Cleveland. Among the homeless, 26% are mentally ill, 38% are alcohol dependent, 26% are drug addicted, and 50% of women and children are victims of domestic violence. These are painful statistics.
To meet this pressing need, by the grace of God, and through your abundant generosity, True Freedom Ministries served 15,127 hot meals and distributed over 3,500 articles of clothing and toiletries to homeless individuals during 2017. During that time, 51 homeless individuals made first-time professions of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We praise the Lord for this beautiful opportunity to serve the least of these in our city. Yet we wanted to do more—for the privilege of moving into discipleship at a deeper level with the homeless men and women we serve.
Our God, who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or imagine, has answered the cry of our hearts. In partnership with Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, and largely funded by a generous grant from the Community West Foundation, True Freedom Ministries has launched a discipleship program for men from the homeless shelter at 2100 Lakeside.
Every Monday we transport a group of these men to our Cypress Avenue location where they are served a delicious, sit-down dinner, followed by a DVD presentation on the Basics of Christianity and a discussion facilitated by more of our dedicated volunteers.
After this initial course, we will move into the Reformers Unanimous addiction recovery curriculum. We also plan to help these men acquire job skills and financial literacy. Many of these men have never had a father or a positive mentor in their lives. What a privilege it is to point them to our True Father and to love them with the heavenly love that proceeds from Him! Please keep this new endeavor in your prayers as we anticipate much fruit to come forth for the glory of His Name.