By Annysa Johnson
As temperatures plunged below zero Sunday night (Jan. 5), Larry approached a man bundled under a south side bridge and offered him a bagged meal, hand warmers and other supplies, and a warm place to sleep at nearby Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church.
Two years ago, that had been Larry — hungry and unwashed inside a thin tent, numbed to the bitter cold by alcohol.
Today Larry is sober, lives indoors and is one of the success stories of Divine Intervention, Tippecanoe’s 3-year-old homeless ministry. He works with Divine Intervention, which is now supported by three dozen congregations across the Milwaukee area.
Every Sunday, Larry ventures into those secluded places — under bridges or in the woods past the railroad tracks — where Milwaukee’s homeless bed down in the harshest of conditions.
He comes with food, toilet paper, sleeping bags, and always an offer of shelter. His hope is to bring them inside, maybe for a night, maybe a few, maybe forever.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for this place,” said Larry, who, like many of the men and women at “Tippe” this week, asked to be identified only by his first name. “They kept me here and helped me to get sober. It helped me want to be sober.”