For Mark Hopkins, the desire to help others has always been present. When February snow storms had Atlanta freezing and covered in ice, Hopkins and other veterans had the chance to serve those in need with The Salvation Army Metro Atlanta Red Shield Services’ cold weather program.
“I believe we serve God by serving others,” Hopkins said. “I think it’s very important.”
Hopkins and other veterans assisted Red Shield Services’ cold weather program, which opens when the weather is below 40 degrees. During the snow storm, Red Shield Services took in around 60 people seeking shelter from the freezing temperatures.
Hopkins says lending a hand during the time of need was particularly meaningful for him, having been in a similar situation to many of those seeking help. He said he felt his own experiences helped him find a way to connect.
“I’ve seen the desperation that happens when people don’t know what to do,” Hopkins said. “Often times people don’t realize that when people are in need or despair, they can determine whether a person really cares or not. My aim is to really, really connect and interact, and to communicate with them that not only is there hope, but people care.”
One family’s story stuck out to him: a pregnant woman and her young daughter were separated from her husband, who was at another location. He was able to inform them about the emergency shelter and supportive programs that would best fit their needs.
“I’ve been through some hardships, and as we go through some of these sufferings, our faith is tested and we grow spiritually even as we go through our suffering,” Hopkins said. “Red Shield provides the platform for them to get to another level.”