In 2005 Brian encountered the same homeless man each day at an expressway exit on his way to work. One morning as he was preparing his lunch, he decided to prepare a lunch for the homeless person too. On the third day of giving him lunch, he greeted him with “Good Morning,” and in return the man thanked him for the lunch. He then proceeded to ask about the tomatoes included in the lunch stating that they were the best he had ever eaten and concluded by saying, “tomorrow could you put a little more mayo on my tuna sandwich?” At that point they began to talk every morning. As the weather got colder Brian would buy him a cup of coffee and they would talk about his life. Brian asked him how he dealt with the cold winters. He said that on really cold days he would panhandle for enough money to ride the “L” day and night. He felt he had made a new friend, but one day the man wasn’t in his usual spot. For the next few weeks Brian would get off at different exits looking for him, but he was never able to find him. In his quest to find him, he began to notice how many homeless people there were on the streets. He felt such a burden that he asked God for a plan. Weeks later he realized he could use a 1000 square foot bungalow he and his wife owned and rented in Englewood. The building stood vacant, having been wrecked by the previous renters. He saw the potential for rehabilitating it into a food pantry. Shepherds HOPE Chicago opened in March, 2009 and served supplemental food to 60 families its first day.
Helping that first man was a good deed, but Brian was not content with that action. Instead he persisted through many obstacles, created an organization and today the pantry feeds over 500 families per week during 2 four-hour days of operation. Shepherds HOPE Chicago has fed over 6000 different families (more than 20,000 men, women and children). That is heroic! But even that was only the beginning. Bible studies are held once a week. Thanksgiving Dinner food distributions and Christmas parties for the children have been provided. Add to that a block party, soup kitchen, aquaponic farming, ministry partner church services. All of this can happen because one man decided to do something about a hungry homeless man and God blessed his efforts.