Man on a mission: Brother Joe collects boots for homeless vets

"This is totally unexpected and totally needed," said Robert Castillo. 

Castillo from the Michigan Veteran's Foundation in Detroit, is feeling grateful and relieved after Outcry Ministries dropped off 288 pair of boots for homeless veterans, who are forced to suffer through our winter months.

"The homeless veterans that are sheltered here, a lot of them don't have winter boots," said Castillo. "And so when you are talking about below temperatures, these boots will help prevent them from getting frostbite, keep them well and safe. These are a marvelous gift."

Joe Hicks organized the effort and was motivated by what he witnessed last summer.

"I was out feeding and preaching and passing out clothes to the homeless, we saw a man who lost his feet," said Hicks. "We tried to do this before, we’re trying for 5,000 pairs of boots on the streets, so no one else loses their toes or feet. We feel pretty bad for some of these folks, they get super cold."

U.S. Housing and Urban Development says there are more than 37,000 veterans that are homeless nationwide. Many live here in the Detroit area.

Hicks says their goal is to buy and distribute $5,000 worth of boots like this that are designed to help the homeless endure the elements.

"We have to take care of our vets," he said. "We have to take care of those who take care of us and it makes me happy as well as my wife. We are really happy to do this and God has given us the funding take care of this."

Hicks says so far they have passed out 1,000 pairs of boots - targeting those who either fall through the cracks or can't care for themselves.

"We go to hotter corners where hardcore drug addicts, male and female prostitutes are at," Hicks said. "We go to places where most organizations do not go. Kind of very unsafe areas to make sure people that are not being ministered to, are being taken care of."

Hicks has spent 43 years on the streets of Detroit working to help the homeless - he says the need is always there and always appreciated.

"They love it - in fact while we were filming one of the fellas walked outside and saw me and called me on my phone," Hicks said. "He was standing out there and he said I just want to give you a personal thank you for bringing boots down there for us."

If you would like to help, donations can be sent to Prayer Baptist Church C/O Outcry Ministry, 855 Edwin Street Westland, MI, 48180.

Hicks also takes online donations. To give money or to learn more about this ministry go to

The Michigan Veterans Foundation is at 4626 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48208. Phone: (313) 831-5500

Brother Joe Hicks