Nearly 500 individuals reported they were actively homeless in the most recent Columbus statistics. A Columbus group took to the community Saturday afternoon to provide free meals and much more to the homeless population around the area.
The Hope in Every Heart cookout started nearly 8 years ago when Pete Hicks grandson had his first experience with homeless individuals.
"He said so why don't we just take what you're buying us and feed them, and when I got home I said well if a little 5 year old can say that what can a 60 year old person do," said Pete Hicks founder of Hope in Every Heart.
So Hicks and his wife Jackie started the feeding the homeless event. They started with a couple tins of hamburgers 8 years ago but went on to feed 750 people last year and hoped to feed 1,000 at this years event.
Council member Pop Barnes said it's exactly what the area needs.
"Those are very live needs in the community. Columbus is moving forward but there are so many people who need clothing. So many people who need food," said Pop Barnes.
The event offered free meals, health related checks like blood pressure and blood sugar as well as free clothes and shoes for all individuals in attendance.
The Pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church said it's all a part of their Christian mission.
"This let them know that God is still able to feed the hungry because we know in his word, one day where he took the 2 little fishes and the 5 loaves of bread and fed the multitude. So we have to let people know that we are still able to do some of the same things today and let them know there's still hope," said Franklin Smith pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church.
In its 8 year history, the event has grown each and every year. This year organizers added a special tribute to police officers and fallen soldiers.
They did a motorcycle ride to honor the men and women who risk their lives to protect our freedoms.
Everything at the event was donated by local churches and community organizations. Hope in Every Heart hosts the event one time a year.