-- At 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning, much of Silver Spring, Md., is still quiet, but Arnold Harvey has already started his day.
He’s a commercial driver for the sanitation company Waste Management, but he also makes very special, personal deliveries.
In 2007, Harvey noticed a growing number of families sleeping on the streets of his overnight route. He and his wife, Theresa, who are both in their 50s, took immediate action, making sandwiches and collecting blankets to donate.
On this Saturday morning, Harvey was delivering to the homeless bags filled with food, toiletries and blankets. He calls his deliveries “love bags.”
After so many years, the homeless people recognize Harvey.
“Sometimes I guess when the shelters get full they have no other place to go … So they’ve got to turn to the streets even if it’s for a night or two they’re out there,” Harvey said.
Harvey is deeply touched by the people’s plight.
“As long as I know there’s somebody out here … It’s hard to go home sit at a table eat a meal. That’s it,” he said, explaining why he has such a strong passion for helping people.
The Harveys’ street ministry led the couple to create God’s Connection Transition (GCT), a nonprofit that now provides donated food and supplies to 5,000 families a month from a rented warehouse in Gaithersburg, Md. The Harveys convinced major companies and local stores to donate.
Theresa Harvey said she and her husband do what they do because of “the passion of God, the love of people. God's Connection Transition is God joining people together to undergo a change.”
People from churches and food pantries work out of GCT’s warehouse to create a non-judgmental shopping environment for low-income and homeless families, and shoppers like Tammilee Jules appreciate it.
“It means a lot to my family. Because a lot of times--we don't have everything that we need,” Jules said. “And in those moments, to know that we can come to GCT and just freely shop, you know, without being embarrassed in any way, because the doors are open to us.”
Another shopper, Joyce Lee, agreed.
“A lot of times you find yourself in situations where you lose hope,” Lee said. “And so Theresa, she just (gives) you that shot of hope. And Arnold's right there behind her, you know, and together they make an awesome team.”