Volunteers help homeless in bitter cold - 'Everybody matters'

Homelessness matters year-round, but in winter it can be the difference between life and death. 

Two metro Detroit men have made it their mission to do their part and help.

"Just go stand on your porch for a minute this evening," said volunteer Jeremiah Chappelle. "But you have the ability to get back in your house and warm up. These people don't."

"I lost my job," said Stephon Jones. "I've been on the streets now for nine years." 

The homeless, the frequently forgotten, the often ignored. Their circumstances are sometimes kept secret. Their choices on the street seem few. 

"Just don't forget about us," Jones said.

Many men and women, even children, are too proud to ask for help - but silently hoping and praying you will lend it.

"There's people that are out here that have cancer, that are on the streets, because of medical bills," said Mike Diesel, volunteer. "Don't judge a book by it's cover. Everybody matters."

"People need help," Chappelle said. "I wake up thinking about it, (there are) some really good people."

Chappelle and Diesel have taken on a mighty mission. Neither of them are armed with an organization or group. It's just them.  

"The other night we found 45 men in a church," Diesel said. "We walked in we feed every single person, we gave out about 25 new jackets and when we walked out, they gave us a standing ovation. 

"They were clapping and saying prayers for us - and that's an unbelievable feeling."

"The hugs is what makes it worth it," Chappelle said.

They don't want praise or accolades. They simply share a vision to make sure the homeless in Detroit, do not go without. 

And even if it's just for a second, they want them to feel love, not abandoned or alone.

"It's nice to know that people that don't even know us are willing to come out here every single night to even feed us," said Brittany Hines. "To give us even the little things like hand and toe warmers. It means so much to us.

"I can't be more thankful for them."

"Thank you, without your blessings, this could never happen," Jones added.

Since the first day of 2015, every night at 9 p.m., Chappelle and Diesel meet at the same spot on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. Now others have joined them in volunteering.

"I have an army of angels," Chappelle said.

Angels helping their fellow man.

"Everybody matters, period," Chappelle said. "Everybody matters."

If you would like to help, contact Chappelle at (313) 974-1643.
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