Nine local congregations join together to raise funds and hear inspiring words
Hundreds of faithfuls flocked to Southfield on May 29, where a diverse group of religious leaders – including former TV meteorologist Chuck Gaidica – offered words of wisdom and prayers of hope and healing for thousands of homeless and struggling metro Detroiters.
Led by Pastor Theodore Turman of First Baptist Church of Detroit, the inaugural Prayer Breakfast took place at the St. John Armenian Church Banquet Center. The event raised nearly $2,000 in cash donations for Lighthouse to help end homelessness and hunger in Oakland County.
- Of the 650,000+ residents of southeast Michigan that are food insecure, 155,000 of them are children.
- Nearly 1 in 5 Michigan children live in poverty, with household incomes under $24,339 for a family of four.
- 69,163 Michiganders experienced homelessness in 2018, with nearly 4,000 in Oakland County.
“Lighthouse relies heavily on the support of our 8,000 volunteers from 80 different congregations,” says Ryan Hertz, Lighthouse CEO, “We are so grateful for their tremendous efforts to help those suffering from poverty and homelessness.”
Nine congregations of different faiths participated in the fundraiser, including: Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, First Baptist Church of Detroit, Northwestern Unitarian Universalist, Peace Lutheran Church, St. David’s Episcopal Church, St. John’s Armenian Orthodox and Transfiguration Catholic Church.
The atmosphere was warm and light as hundreds of people enjoyed a breakfast buffet and listened to heartfelt speeches, including one from Lighthouse Chief Development Officer, Russ Russell, who spoke about the recent merger of South Oakland Shelter and Lighthouse and the newly expanded organization’s mission. Russell also shared this video about the exciting opportunity the merger presents to build communities that end poverty with the help of board members, community partners, volunteers, and others.
Gaidica, who served as keynote speaker, shared with the crowd a few laughs, some words of wisdom, and the story behind his decision to leave TV news to become a pastor.
“I asked myself questions like … Is there a God? What am I going to be when I grow up, etc.,” said Gaidica, WDIV-TV’s former longtime weatherman, who now hosts a podcast called ‘Journey Strong,’ “Fast forward to about age 45 or 50, I start asking myself those big questions all over again. Why am I here? What is my purpose?”
Gaidica said the answers to these questions helped him find his path in life. “Decide what you want to do and make it meaningful,” he told the crowd.
He also encouraged guests to reflect on themselves and their role in the community.
“You can serve other people with greater purpose,” he said, “Do something bigger. You’re never too little to start something bigger than yourself to help somebody else.”
Learn more about Lighthouse and how you can get involved here.