SPRINGFIELD – Freeway Ministries here continues to minister to the homeless and other underserved people amid the COVID-19 pandemic by serving a free dinner each Saturday evening during the lockdown. So far, they have served 1190 meals.
Co-founded by John Stroup, Mike Aye and Rick Lechner, members of Crossway Baptist Church here, Freeway is an outreach and discipleship ministry that helps churches reach out to ex-cons, drug addicts, the homeless and other hard-to-reach people.
Many of these people, Stroup said, have been especially hard-hit by the pandemic.
“Think about people in recovery, Stroup said, “think about the homeless, think about people living check to check, about people getting out prison who don’t have a place to go to quarantine themselves.”
Springfield’s homeless people don’t have a place to hunker down during the quarantine, he said. And because overnight shelters have closed, they often can’t find a warm place to sleep at night.
Whether or not they’re homeless, Stroup added, many people involved with Freeway have a limited grocery budget and can’t stock up supplies, making it more difficult for them to get a meal during the current lockdown. This is especially true for those who have been laid off from work.
“So we’re able to go in and minister to those people,” Stroup said. “This has given us an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
“In my opinion,” he added, “this is what’s happening: We’ve been praying for revival forever. This is probably the answer to that prayer.”
According to OzarksFirst.com, those in the Springfield area who need a meal can contact Freeway by: 1.) driving by 1041 West Kearney on Saturday nights at 6 p.m.; 2.) call or text 417-838-2038 before 2 p.m. on Saturdays. They can tell Freeway their name, phone number and how many people need a meal in their household.
The Freeway Ministries headquarters is in Springfield, but branches have expanded throughout Missouri, into Nebraska, and across the globe, with a branch in Capetown, South Africa.