GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Thirty years ago, Bill Mangum just thought he was going for a quick breakfast after a Bible study session.
What was really happening was God was opening him up to another chapter of his life.
“Clearly, God has his hand in that whole event,” Mangum said.
That "whole event” was how Mangum met a homeless man outside a restaurant, after that breakfast, became his caretaker of sorts and got familiar not just with homelessness, but the Greensboro Urban Ministry that helps so many people in that condition.
“Greensboro Urban Ministry really is second to none,” Mangum said. “First of all, it is a triage unit for the homeless -- for the hopeless. And I think a lot of people have greater expectations for that but just to simply help people survive that day is an insurmountable task.”
Rev. Myron Wilkins is the executive director at the Urban Ministry and a realist.
“We live in a fallen world, we live in a broken world,” Wilkins said.
But he has seen all that the ministry can do, through success stories like Angel Baptist, who came from a hard-working family but found herself homeless when she made some bad choices. Baptist now works at the Urban Ministry after getting back on track.
“I am a lighthouse. I am a beacon to let people know that the fog does clear,” Baptist said. “You just got to be willing to take the necessary steps. You can be all the way on the ground and need shelter and it's here. Or you can be partially on your way up and it's here. You could just need, basically, some food and it's here.”
They can do this work for people like Baptist largely because for the last 30 years, Mangum has done a painting that is turned into a holiday card that people get for a donation.
“This was an opportunity to be a good Samaritan,” Mangum says of meeting that homeless man, 30 years ago, but could just as well describe his work on what is now called “The Honor Card.”
Mangum realizes it won’t solve the problem entirely, but he knows it goes a long way, over time.
“That's the way I feel,” he says. “I can't get to everybody, but if I can touch one person, once a week or two or three times a week, I feel like that's when I've made a difference.”
You might be surprised how much of a difference. See in the incredible amount of money the Honor Card has raised and the work Urban Ministries does in this edition of the Buckley Report.
For more information on the Honor Card, including how to purchase Honor Cards, click here.