AUGUSTA, Ga. – The ‘Under the Bridge Ministry’ takes place in Downtown Augusta 50 Saturdays out of the year to serve the homeless, but organizers tell me this Saturday was set aside to make sure no one is left out during the holiday season.
“I believe that the greatest treasure that we have in life is not what we keep, it’s what we give,” says Rodger Gardner, Under the Bridge Ministry’s organizer.
That’s the motto that drives organizer Rodger Gardner out to host the Annual ‘Under the Bridge Ministry’ Christmas Celebration in downtown Augusta.
The entire inner city was invited to enjoy a hot meal, pick out winter clothes, and leave with a Christmas gift. Gardner tells us it’s an initiative to bring the community together during the holiday season despite hardship.
“You and I know that we need to be a community of unity all the time. Not just on special occasions. For us under the bridge every Saturday is a big deal,” says Rodgers.
Also to bring a sense of family to those who might not have their loved ones around during the holiday seasons, organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated tells us they decided to step in and volunteer.
“If you can imagine not having your family or you and your family being out in the street in the cold, especially during this time of the year, it makes you more sentimental. So, to be able to make somebody feel comfortable and feel loved when it’s so easy to feel down it’s worth it,” says Sibea Lewis, a member of AKA.
Even if you did not know the person beside you, the community put their different backgrounds together to worship and praise to a variety of gospel music.
Volunteers tell us they hope the biggest take away from this Christmas celebration is that the community will always be in the inner city’s corner beyond the holiday season.
“As a community, we’re here for them. We’re here for them as just every day people. We’re here as a group, and that overall God is here for them. That’s what the Bridge Ministry teaches and the love of Jesus, so that it’s ongoing. Not just at Christmas time,” says Lewis.
Gardner also tells me that the organization will go out into the community for those who weren’t able to make the celebration and deliver the left over clothes, toys, food, and gift to those in need.