A congregation in Florida will be celebrating Veterans Day weekend by hosting a concert and fundraiser at their church to benefit the homeless.
Ensley First Baptist Church of Pensacola will host the concert and fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and is expecting between 100 and 200 attendees.
Scheduled performances will include the country-gospel group Southern Revival Band and the bluegrass group String Farm Band, as well as some of Ensley FBC’s own members who have musical talents.
Funds raised during the concert will go to Takin' it to the Streets Homeless Outreach, a ministry of the church that helps the area's homeless population.
Melinda Henry, director of the soon to be opened women’s recovery program, A Future and A Hope, and wife of Ensley FBC’s pastor, told The Christian Post that their church “has always been a place of refuge for the down and out in the community.”
“We would find people sleeping on our front steps to the church, on the back steps and under the awning. We wanted to do more to help them," Henry said.
“So eight years ago, under God's direction and through much prayer, the homeless outreach was breathed into existence.”
From there, the church offers various charitable services for the homeless, including donations and a recovery-residential program.
They also offer a weekly worship service for the homeless each Sunday afternoon, which is then followed by a meal for the attendees. Other churches and groups help with that outreach effort as well.
“We have built relationships with the homeless community,” Henry said, noting that the outreach ministry has a reputation among the local homeless for being “a place where their basic needs as a human being can be met in a loving, nonjudgmental atmosphere.”
“We have helped men and women get off the street and into homes via our network of agency partners in Pensacola,” said added. “We are commanded, as believers, to serve ‘the least of these’ as if we are serving Jesus Himself. None of us are better than the homeless friends we serve weekly and we want them to always feel welcomed and loved.”
In addition to the musical entertainment at Saturday's event, there will also be multiple vendors to offer assistance to veterans, as well as free food and shower facilities.
“We hope that through the music, interactions, and overall atmosphere that Jesus shines through to all. We want Him to increase as we decrease,” Henry stressed.
“We want to see people meet Jesus where they are and for souls to be saved. We want the community to know what we do so that we can gain more partners in the cause. This is a God thing, not an Ensley thing or anything else. It's about serving Jesus by serving others.”