PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Christian faith leaders in Philadelphia are planning to take a hands-on approach to help tackle the gun violence crisis.
Starting Wednesday night, faith leaders and community organizers will be standing on street corners connecting people in need for the entire month of June. It's all in an effort to reach the city's most vulnerable.
"These aren't just thugs and throwaways, these are our nephews and nieces and daughters and sons. We're not afraid of them," said Reverend G. Lamar Stewart of Taylor Memorial Baptist Church.
Stewart started Taylor Made Opportunities, a nonprofit focused in mentoring, education and advocacy. This initiative connects Taylor Memorial Baptist Church with neighboring churches, pastors, and community leaders who have been focused on the same type of work.
"We believe in the necessity of prayer, but we believe that faith without works is dead," said Dr. Clarence Wright with Love Zion Baptist Church.
Through the Corners to Connections program, faith leaders and community organizers are heading to the street corners of Northwest, Tiaoga and Nicetown neighborhoods every night in June from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"We're hoping through our presence we can deter the violent crime, but also spread the word about opportunities, connections and services that are available," said Reverend Stewart.
Since March, connecting to services is now a phone call away in Philadelphia with the 2-1-1 Anti-violence Hotline.
"This is just a connection, we give people an option," said Leland Hendon.
Operators like Leland Hendon man the 24-hour hotline, sponsored by United Way and the city's Office of Violence Prevention.
"A lady said she was just robbed at gunpoint last week," said Hendon. "This is where psychological first aid comes in. You listen, you show empathy and gauge the situation."
The hotline is open to all kinds of calls in 150 languages. Operators make real-time connections to support services.
"This is food services. I need a recreation program for my 14-year-old. It's really a holistic approach," said Shondell Revell, executive director of Philadelphia's Office of Violence Prevention.
For this team, the best measure of success is more phone calls and more needs met.
"The message is the more we use it, the more people will become familiar with it," said Revell.
You can call 2-1-1 any time, any day to be connected to resources.
As for the "Corners to Connections" program, faith leaders will be out at 15th and Wingohocking streets on June 1 to offer jobs, housing, trauma services, and other community support.