What started out as a small Bible study has grown into a much larger calling for one Richmond, Virginia pastor.
Years ago, Jay Patrick says he and a handful of others collected an offering at his apartment. With that $70, they put a homeless person in a hotel for a few days, provided food and hygiene products.
“It was the best feeling in the world, and I’ve been addicted to kindness ever since,” Patrick said.
“We love people, we show kindness and we serve each other.”
Now, Patrick is the Executive Director of “Liberation Veterans Services,” on East 12th and Hull streets. providing a place for homeless veterans to get back on their feet.
Dozens of veterans have called the facility home for roughly six months.
Liberation Veterans Services addresses issues like addiction and mental health problems with the goal of getting clean and finding a job and apartment of their own.
Patrick is committed to serving those who fought for the red, white and blue, but this isn’t his only ministry.
“Pastoring was not something that was a part of the plan,” Patrick said. “I was literally serving people and it kind of just grew into this.”
His church shares the name “Liberation,” but has slightly different mission.
“We love people, we show kindness and we serve each other,” Patrick said. “Our city needs kindness like never before. We need something to stop the bleeding and start the healing.”
Instead of dwelling on the negative things happening in the city, Patrick is leading with a positive message.
“We’re attempting to span the entire 62 square miles of this city, and the objective again is to just flood this city with a day of kindness,” Patrick said.
As in past years, Patrick and his congregation will deliver cupcakes to first responders, hand out bus passes at bus stops, give out gift cards, pay for a family to have dinner at a buffet or buy someone’s gas on June 30.
“Someone that’s considering suicide, domestic violence, overdosing on alcohol or drugs, that one act of kindness can change the trajectory of their whole day and may save their life,” Patrick said. “The preaching that we’re going to be doing is in our actions and that’s the best sermon anybody could ever hear.”
To help or volunteer, visit the church’s website or call (804) 222-8030.