Downtown ministry's mission helps homeless

- A downtown church's congregation is making an impact on the lives of the homeless. 

First Presbyterian Church in downtown Tampa is doing more than preaching the gospel.

"It's been God's will all the way and it has just grown," explained Mike Kanter, the founder of Matthew 25 Homeless Ministry.

For the past 15 years, the ministry has been serving meals to people in need every Saturday morning. 

"We are a Christian community. We are called to serve those who are less fortunate than we are," Kanter said.

Rhonda Soule has been homeless for two years and is grateful the church has answered the call.

"I think it is fantastic, seriously. It's fantastic. The homeless appreciate it," Soule said. 

The church also receives support from other social service groups which provide meals and free healthcare.

"They have unmet healthcare needs and Tampa Bay Street Medicine is able to contribute to this under served population," explained Abby Pribish, a member of the USF Street Medicine Ministry.

Church volunteers also help by offering donated clothes and coordinating counseling so the homeless can set a goal to one day support themselves. 

"We are a downtown church with many homeless in our midst. These people have terrific needs," Kanter said.

The ministry sees 150 needy people a week.

"They have more of a heart than other people do. They open their hearts for the homeless," Soule said.

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