Families spend Christmas with homeless and hungry in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Some of these people don't have families to go home to," said Michael Cunningham. "So, my family is here to be their family on Christmas Day."

Cunningham grew up in North Philadelphia and got involved in service at an early age thanks to his late grandmother. Seeing the needs of his community first-hand, he decided to take action.

"Five years ago, we launched Kingdom Keepers Outreach Ministries and we've been out here every year on Christmas Day," he said. "We raised about $25,000 this year to be able to service them every two weeks throughout the year and to be able to provide all these things that are here today."

Cunningham provides free outreach at Logan Square every second and fourth Saturday of the month. And especially on Christmas Day, helping the homeless and hungry was a family affair.

Lauren Drumgoole of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, decided she needed to play her part in serving the community during 2019.

"I started with seeing a homeless individual at a bus stop in the winter time and just getting out of my car and giving them a blanket," she said.

After seeing how much it meant to that individual, Drumgoole felt a spark of inspiration.

"I talked about it with my boys of how important it was to just always try to give what you can," she said.

She created the Share the Warmth Foundation, which will soon become a non-profit. Leading up to the 2021 holiday season, she raised $1,800 to provide nearly 100 blankets to those in need on Christmas day.

"Not enough supports are being put in place to eliminate or at least decrease the problem of homelessness and the barriers they face out here in the cold," said Drumgoole.

Drumgoole and her children distributed tents, blankets, and emergency thermal blankets today. George Jackson from North Philadelphia says it was appreciated.

"Unfortunately, I just lost my place over the summer," he said. "And I'm grateful that you guys are helping me out because I am definitely in need of food, clothing, especially in the winter."

And while they appreciate the food, clothes, blankets and shoes, Jackson and other individuals agreed that shelter is most-needed among their community.

Both Cunningham and Drumgoole hope their shared efforts will lead to change in the city, even if the problem can never be completely eradicated.

To learn more about Kingdom Keepers Outreach Ministries or the Share the Warmth Foundation, visit their websites.

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