GREENSBORO, N.C. — Ashley Benton and Michelle Nelson have known each other less than a day, but it’s because of Ashley that Michelle is now comfortable in a motel room, out of the heat, with food to eat and water to drink.
“I just can’t imagine that, no human being should have to go through that,” said Benton, with tears streaming down her face. “And this is a lady; bad things can happen to ladies in the night.”
The two met less than 24 hours ago at a bus stop on a busy stretch of road on High Point Road in Greensboro.
“I was here because of safety, so people can see I’m here, that I exist,” said Nelson, who has been in and out of shelters for the past two years. “I have coats and jackets. You can’t miss me if you see me. I was here for three weeks. I sleep sitting up, always watching.”
In the three weeks Nelson lived in the bus stop, she says only one person, Benton, stopped to really help. “I’m just so grateful, feel relief.”
Benton at first brought her food, but then drove back by about eight hours later and saw Benton still sitting there in the same spot. “I sat in my car and cried before I got out because she was still there! I couldn’t believe it. I was heartbroken, literally.” Benton posted on her Facebook page about Nelson and with some friends’ help, is now paying for a motel room for a few nights while she tries to help secure Nelson a spot at a local shelter.
Benton is used to helping strangers through her ministry, The Green Team Ministry. She regularly feeds homeless people in downtown Greensboro. Every Sunday she cooks for them and serves about 200 plates in downtown Greensboro. She created the nonprofit in honor of her father.
“My father helped everyone, he was such a great person. He got a liver transplant from NFL player Chris Henry. That was such a blessing for my family. He gave us another two years with my father. I want to pay it forward, be a blessing to others. It’s my life’s passion and purpose, helping other people.”
For more information on her ministry, visit greenteamministry.com.