HOMETOWN HERO: Kelly Stawecki has a heart for the homeless

Hometown Hero: Kelli Stawecki

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The creator of a program to help the homeless in Lake Charles is this week’s Hometown Hero.

Kelli Stawecki started the Waters Edge Homeless Outreach program.

She admits she was uncomfortable around the homeless until one day she was taught a lesson during an encounter with a homeless person.

“I wanted to give her some money and she said ‘I don’t want your money,’” Stawecki said, “'I want you to hug me,' and I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I just closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around her and in that moment, God changed me. It was me who was broken. That’s where it began.”

Stawecki said most people would be surprised at just who makes up the homeless population.

“It doesn’t know any race or socio-economical status,” Stawecki said, “I mean, we’ve got doctors' kids on the street, we have attorneys' kids, we have poor people who the cycles continued. You can’t pinpoint what it is, so everybody’s included in it. We’re really all just one paycheck away.”

Kelli says many of the homeless just want to be loved.

“Some of them aren’t accepting of the help we’re trying to give, but we can love them,” Stawecki said, “If we love them today, then maybe tomorrow we can help them.”

Time and patience are the key, according to Stawecki.

Stawecki says their biggest need for the homeless right now are sleeping bags. You can drop them off at Waters Edge Church at 2760 Power Center Parkway in Lake Charles.

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