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  • Eric Gray, Executive Director, Saving Lives

It was an unseasonably warm January afternoon when Edgar was dropped off at our Parramore campus after being released from the hospital for the ninth time in two weeks. Nowhere to go. No nearby home. No local family waiting for him. His face severely disfigured from injuries he sustained after numerous falls related to neuropathy in his feet. Edgar was in intense physical pain and could hardly speak. Vincent, our head of campus security, caught sight of Edgar in the courtyard. Shocked by his injuries, Vincent and other staff members quickly came over to talk to him. We knew that if nothing was done, it was unlikely that Edgar would survive the week.

Edgar was non-communicative, in a hospital gown with no personal belongings, but he did have a photo ID. We reached his family in Wisconsin and began a journey to help save Edgar’s life. We learned that Edgar had struggled with drug addiction. His lifestyle cost him dearly. He had broken the trust of family members who’d since given up on him, lost his job, his home, and found himself on the streets panhandling for money.

Edgar could not eat, shower, bathe himself or even stand. After some quick investigation, we reached Edgar’s daughter. Reluctant at first, after we shared a photo of his condition, she and her family agreed to come get him. Today, three months later, she sent me a photo of her father’s condition. While he will struggle with neurological damage for the rest of his life, we were overjoyed to see how well his face had healed and to hear that he is safe.

You can directly help turn lives around in our community, even save lives like Edgar’s. Here’s how…

This spring, we have been blessed by a faithful group of Orlando families who have banded together to encourage your participation in this year's Anniversary Matching Gift Challenge. They have collectively pledged to match dollar for dollar up to $90,000. Every donation we receive between April 15 and June 1 will be doubled up to this goal to help us end homelessness and hunger for our Central Florida neighbors in need.

Please join these supporters with a contribution of whatever amount your means will allow to help those experiencing the worst crisis of their lives.

The work we do at our Day Services Center is not pretty, in fact, it can be quite complicated and messy. And, we can’t do it alone. It takes people like you to volunteer here, support us financially, or support any of the other fine institutions in our community working to lift people from the nightmare of homelessness. People like Edgar. He and his daughter are grateful for the restoration possible through our ongoing mission. And, I am grateful for you.

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