MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - For 15 years, the Memphis ministry group, Touched by an Angel has been orchestrating giveaways in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
Sunday, the group set up shop next to the intersection of South Parkway and Latham in South Memphis for a giveaway of food and clothes.
Director, Larry Hunter says it’s his way of fighting the city’s growing rate of violent crime.
“Most people think because you march that’s going to take a bite out of crime. No,” said Hunter. “How do you take a bite out of crime? You got to go where the crime is at.”
Hunter is referring to Saturday’s march against gun violence in Frayser.
He says that isn’t the way to tackle violent crime in the city.
“You’ve got to bring something to the table. Look what I bring to the table to get their attention,” Hunter said pointing to the multiple tables of food and clothes.
“He doesn’t have to do this,” said Eric Body, a lifelong resident of South Memphis. “God is good. He doesn’t have to do this. He’s a person who is taking care of people, and he’s got a family. That’s good, man.”
These events provide Hunter the opportunity to speak with some of the people they serve, to take that bite out of crime that he talked about earlier.
“The murderers, the gang members, the robbers. Most of the people that set up my table today, who volunteered their time, they’re gang members,” Hunter said. “I have seen people walk up to me and say ‘You know what? I’m not going to carry my gun anymore.”
Though there are no hard numbers to back these claims, both Hunter and Boyd believe crime is lower than it could be in these parts of Memphis thanks to these weekly giveaways.
“This is the only somebody that’s doing something,” Boyd said. “We got him, and God’s got us. I love this man.”
“They just want to know that somebody loves them. Once they see that you really love and you’re concerned about them, you don’t have to tell them to stop killing,” Hunter said. “They’re going to stop.”
Touched by an Angel was helped Sunday by the Memphis All-Star Car Club.
Hunter mentioned that Touched by an Angel needs a mobile concession stand to help with their giveaways, and donations certainly help as well.
Touched by an Angel can be reached at 901-581-2860.