A gift from the heart for homeless

A buffet line and chairs for folks enjoying the meal sat on the parking lot at First United Methodist Church Gathering Place.
Changing Lives meets there every Saturday to offer people who are homeless free services like haircuts, clothes, recovery help and job opportunities.
But this week was different.
“I cooked all this in my apartment,” said lawyer Jason Lazar, among volunteers ladling out the food.
Inside the gym, gift bags lined the stage front, waiting for a Secret Santa moment. “We did wish lists for 30 people with their sizes and gender, but there’s at last 50 people here and no one will leave without a gift,” said Sam Soto, Changing Lives’ executive director, adding they see at least 60 homeless people weekly.
“Come meet my boyfriend. Can you get him a job?” “Is there money for cat food?” Founder Jim Batmasian couldn’t walk 2 feet without people stopping him. He introduced a visiting pastor with a huge following who came out to see for himself what Changing Lives is doing.
“This was my first time,” said Alex Bennett, owner of Ai Glass in Delray Beach. “I gave six or seven guys a chance who knew they made wrong decisions. Now they have families and kids. They’re still with me.”
Marci Shatzman


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