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A couple of weeks ago Peaceful Hugs teamed up with two local faith-based groups to walk an area in need in the inner city of Detroit. It was the first event for Peaceful Hugs and years in the making for me to see this come to fruition. It was a blessing! Our mission was to deliver love, encouragement, and some financial assistance. We, a group of 30 men, women, and children of different colors, faiths, and backgrounds, went door to door at 269 homes to deliver this opening message:

“We just wanted to come by and tell you that while there is a pandemic going on and social unrest in our city, we love you and we care about you!”

And with that message we were given endless blessings! Each knock at the door was oftentimes met with skepticism that quickly melted when we simply smiled, said hello, and delivered our opening message. We talked about the virus, about the social unrest, family, God, life’s stresses and hardships, food, jobs, and health and wellness to name a few. We heard about an extended family all infected with COVID, a father in the hospital dying, a son who lost his job, a mother who was proud of the boys she raised in a tough environment, and a father of 5 working to keep the family afloat. The stories go on and on! In return, we received prayers, hope, and humbleness! We laughed, we cried, we prayed, but most importantly we simply “talked” to our brothers and sisters who delivered encouragement and faith to us. The experience was overwhelming because, as you so often hear, we received more than we gave. We were blessed!

I personally tried to overcome my emotions as each volunteer walked up to help with a smile on their face. On a beautiful early Saturday morning when there were plenty other things they could do, they wanted nothing in return but to help a new non-profit called Peaceful Hugs and the community we were there to serve. With each visit, as the tears streamed down my face, before we knocked on one door and after we knocked on the last, I was reminded of the goodness in most people.

In a time when we all need to pull together, there seems to be such unnecessary divisiveness, a lack of humbleness, of simple logic, intelligence, and understanding that we are all connected in some form or fashion.

This event reminded me of the goodness in most people. Good always overcomes evil….we have to believe that!

I don’t know what is in store for Peaceful Hugs but we are grateful to those who opened their doors to us and allowed us to start our mission. A mission that we are continuing to move forward. Thank you to Woodside Bible church, thank you to Shiloh Baptist, and most importantly, a special thanks to the community we visited as your openness, love, and kindness were appreciated.

Remember – The second is this: Love! Mark Steven