Local church brings food, shoes to Austin's homeless on Easter

 Sunday, members of the Austin New Church served an Easter meal to as many members of the homeless community as they could.

"It feels pretty incredible. It's very fulfilling, but it's also humbling because I think coming into the community and sitting down with people you might not normally hang out with all the time, it's like holding a mirror up to your own face," said Austin New Church Pastor Brandon Hatmaker.

Mindy Copeland said she has been living out of her car for the last nine days.

"Last month I was handing money out of my car to people on the corner and now I'm sleeping in those parking lots with them," said Copeland.  

"I had a job that offered corporate housing when I lost the job I lost the corporate housing and I took all my money and I purchased a vehicle that I knew I could put an air mattress in the back of the car and I've been homeless for about a week and a half now," Copeland added.  

Learning to live out of her car hasn't been easy and Copeland said she was grateful when she heard there would be food at the Easter event under the I-35 bridge.

"I've been eating top ramen, I've been eating whatever I can for a dollar and to have food is amazing," said Copeland.

Hatmaker said just as important as the food, is the chance to show people less fortunate they are loved.

"I think if we do anything when we serve people, if we can extend dignity to that person, in whatever form that may be, maybe it's a new pair of shoes, maybe it's a smile or to be served," said Hatmaker.  

"I think it's absolutely amazing because when you become homeless you feel that you are lonely, you feel that you are isolated from society, they drive by, they don't want to look at you out of your car," said Copeland.

After dinner church volunteers gave away 1,000 brand new pairs of shoes to cover some of Austin's weariest feet.

"For people to come out and actually give people shoes, shoes especially, because the main means for people who are homeless is walking, and that they have shoes, that's extremely generous," said Copeland.

"A lot of people don't understand in the homeless community one of the greatest commodity are shoes, and not just shoes, but good shoes. A lot of times they get hand me downs that are already wore out," said Hatmaker.

Any shoes left over from the Easter celebration will be donated to Mobile Loaves and Fishes, a mobile outreach organization for Austin's homeless community.

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