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Gainesvilles Rescue 2000 continues to feed Atlantas needy
Church members have been feeding homeless weekly for 10 years
The Rev. Miguel Araya of Rescue 2000 church in Gainesville talks during a trip to downtown Atlanta to distribute food to the needy.

Rescue 2000

Where: 622 Shallowford Road Unit 7, Gainesville
Contact: Camille Vierra, 770-654-9574

The first time the Rev. Miguel Araya and Camille Viera took food to those in need in downtown Atlanta, they started with a bag of sandwiches.

The duo figured out real quick they might need more food.

Now, they have fed more than 100 homeless and needy people every Saturday night for 10 years.

"We came here to work and to have a better life, so we never thought we were going to be able to bless somehow the people from here," said Viera, who is originally from Puerto Rico and serves as assistant pastor at Rescue 2000 church in Gainesville. "God put in his (Araya's) heart to start going out and see if there was something that we could do for the people here. We thought that we were not going to find that much because we thought that in America everybody is just fine. So, the first time that we went out, we went out with two little bags of sandwiches and two little pots of coffee and that is it.

Araya, pastor of the church, is originally from Chile.

"We thought there might be four or five people in the street, so we were amazed at how many people we found in the street."

The nearly 120 members of Rescue 2000 take turns preparing food each weekend, and local businesses have begun donating food that the church picks up each Friday.

"We've been to three different locations near the capitol, and now they are based on Peachtree Street. (We) get there at 9 p.m. each Saturday night," Viera said. "And they are there waiting for us. It is beautiful because there are people there that were there before, and now they come to help us. We want to let them know that we care by going every Saturday. And we have delicious food."

Robin Taylor of Dawsonville has gone with the church to feed those in need a couple of times and said she was touched by the experience.

"We go down with the full course meal, you know main course, salad, vegetables, dessert, bread, water, lemonade," she said. "If we have enough, they can go through two, sometimes three times depending on how much food we take; and the church does all the food."

The pastor, church members and volunteers don't push their beliefs on the people they serve, but they do let them know God loves them.

"We say this place is not for you," Araya said. "It has made us surprised and moved us."

After 10 years of helping the homeless in Atlanta, the church has no plans to change its street ministry.

"Even with one person we are going to keep coming," Viera said. "It doesn't matter how many people we have, 100, 120, 150, we always have enough food. ... All of them eat and God multiply, he knows how many people.

"Our desire is to go one day and there is no one. We preach to them that they have to go out of the street."