AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– From delivering soup to homeless people on cold days, to collecting winter coats and shoes, Harvest Field Ministries makes sure those in need have a fresh-cooked meal and adequate clothing.
And there wouldn’t be a Harvest Field without out latest Giving Your Best winners, Helen and Harvey Bender.
The first thing you need to know is that the Benders don’t consider themselves volunteers at all. According to Harvey, they are servants.
“I think there’s a difference between a volunteer and a servant, I really believe there’s a difference, you know. Volunteers can be like, well maybe or maybe not- but a servant realizes that his assignment is from God. So he’s more liable to stick and stay. He doesn’t waiver in his commitment, you see what I’m saying? So it’s much different, you know? So I heard you make that statement but let’s all be servants of the living God, not just volunteers.”
Tony Rutledge has seen first-hand how the Benders see themselves as servants. He says they are like his foster parents.
“I was homeless, in class, at another church and out of nowhere Mr. Harvey said, “Hey, why don’t you come and live with me? And I’ve been studying ever since and hey- life is great.”
Tony Howard nominated the Benders for the Giving Your Best Award.
“It’s not a Monday & a Wednesday thing, it’s a 7 days a week thing that Mr. Harvey’s out there working to further God’s word to teach the people and feed the people here in the CSRA.”
He says, through their extraordinary commitment, dependability and devotion, they’ve helped reduce the number of homeless people in Augusta.
But the Benders say they were following God’s commandment.
“But the reason I really did it was that I was commanded by God. That’s the only thing really motivating me to do it, to express God’s will, you know, in my life and that’s the first time I received a vision.”
Every Wednesday morning they offer a religious service to dozens of homeless people, and they feed them a hot meal.
“The CSRA is hurting right now, there’s a lot of people out there standing on the corner- I see it all over Augusta, Richmond County and Columbia County- and we know the government takes a while to do the things that need to be done. But we here at Harvest Field Ministries we are trying to do our part and God has commissioned us to do this part and so we are listening to his word and doing the best we can right now to help those that we can help.”