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JUST ADD HOPE: The Love Project

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- We often hear from viewers who want to see more coverage of the good going on in our community. In an effort to do that, we're showcasing the Love Project. It's the product of three women's desire to serve up real relationships to homeless men and women over breakfast.

"It's not our job to determine why they are in the situations they are in," co-founder Rachel Rowell said. "It's our job to show them that someone cares and that they are human, and we're all human. It's our job to pick each other up, and that's what we wanted to do is just say, 'Hey, you guys, you're not forgotten. We can't fix your situation, but we definitely want to show you that someone cares.'"

The Love Project is an effort by three friends to help the people they see as the most misunderstood group in our society.

Rowell said while tackling the problem of poverty may seem like a daunting task, all it takes is for everyone to do something.

Pete Davis has been without a home of his own for three years. He's a regular at the weekly home-cooked breakfasts.

"They talk to people with respect," Davis said. "They bring the love. They show they care, so it makes everybody happy. It's not just to bring stuff here without talking and communicating. It's doing a lot for the whole community."

Volunteer Pam Teague has been cooking and serving for three weeks. She ran across the Love Project's page on Facebook and just knew she wanted to spread the love.

"If you want to give back, you can give back," Teague said. "All you have to do is make the time. You make time for everything else, you can make time to do this, too. It's so rewarding. These are not just faces. These are people. They're down on their luck, and I don't know, I've just been blessed with so much, I feel like I need to give back."

In an effort to tangibly teach compassion, the ladies of love often bring their children to help serve. Sam Jones, 12, says helping is fun, and getting to know the men and women certainly has perks.

"They're really nice," Jones said. "If you watch out for them, then they'll watch out for you."

Hot, balanced breakfasts are served every Thursday morning in the parking lot of the Mercy House in downtown Wilmington, and homeless men and women can also pick up basic supplies the last Thursday of each month.

You can volunteer with whatever time you have or simply donate backpacks, clothing and food like milk, eggs, cheese and biscuits. Rowell says the idea is to break down social and economic barriers over breakfast.

"We get more out of this than they do," Rowell said. "We've just fallen in love with these guys, fallen in love with their stories. It's more than just coming and giving away to them. We get to know them; we get to build relationships with them. Everybody has a story. Sometimes, I just sit and listen to them, and it is amazing to know that we have been connected with this group of people and that we get to love on them."

The Love Project adds hope by providing the basic necessities of hot food and warn friendships to the homeless and hurting in our community.

Rowell said the goal is put together more teams to serve each day of the week. The ladies also want the idea to be easily reproduced so people can take the love project to their communities all over the nation.

For more information on how you can get involved, visit The Love Project on Facebook or e-mail theloveproject@live.com.

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