Have you ever thought about the impact one small object could have on someone? Take an umbrella, for example. It is something so small that many of us often take for granted.
It was a rainy, November day when sophomore, mass communications and speech communications major, Torey Harrison, first realized the impact that one umbrella could have one someone in need.
While driving home in the pouring rain on her 20th birthday, Harrison remembers driving past a homeless man on the side of the road. As she passed, she instantly had a “stabbing feeling in her heart to turn around,” not knowing how she could even help.
She whipped her car around on the busy highway and pulled over on the side of the road. The man slowly approached her car.
“My first reaction was to give him money for food. I tried to hand him a $10 bill, but he adamantly refused,” Harrison said. “I insisted that he take the money because I was convinced he needed it more than I did. He refused again, as he stood in the rain exclaiming that he didn’t need money. Immediately, my whole perspective changed. Not every single homeless person is begging for money. I suddenly had another idea. With two umbrellas laying in my backseat, I knew what God wanted me to do. I handed him the umbrella because I knew it would protect him from the rain. The biggest smile appeared on his weathered, scarred face. Darrell thanked me, shook my hand, and said God bless you! I knew right then that God wanted me to provide umbrellas for every homeless person.”
For as long as Harrison can remember her heart has always ached for the homeless.
Growing up, her family often stopped and gave money, food, and blankets to those they saw on the streets in need. But, this was not enough for Harrison. She wanted to reach out to the homeless community in a bigger way, she just wasn’t quite sure how. “I’ve continued to struggle with what God wants me to do about my passion. Seeing homeless people all over town is heart wrenching,” Harrison said.
“Because of Darrell, I am starting an umbrella ministry called “Under HIS Umbrella.”
Harrison has recently started the non-profit ministry with the goal to providing umbrellas for the homeless, while also sharing God’s love.
To begin her ministry, Harrison spent the last few months raising money to purchase the umbrellas. This past month, she has spent her weekends passing out these umbrellas all around Little Rock, with the help of friends and family.
The simple act of passing out the umbrellas has provided great opportunities to share the Gospel with people. Harrison says the best part of it all is “getting to share Christ and pray with each person!”
Harrison recently had a memorable encounter with a man named Brandon. “He was laying in the sun on the sidewalk sweating and I gave him an umbrella to keep the sun off of him and he just lit up! After that we talked about his family and his favorite memories.” She says it’s awesome to just sit down, talk, and taking the time to hear their stories.
Although the ministry is still very new, Harrison has already made a huge impact and plans to keep growing Under HIS Umbrella.
As fellow students and believers, there are several different ways to get involved and support this ministry:
• Pray that this ministry will help the homeless while honoring God.
• Put umbrellas in your car and hand them out to people you see in need.
• Make a donation to Under HIS Umbrella that will go towards purchasing and distributing more umbrellas.
You can donate by going to the Under HIS Umbrella page on Facebook and selecting DONATE.
Harrison recently saw Darrell on the side of the road driving home. She pulled over and told him how her encounter with him encouraged her to start this ministry. It was a very special moment and she said “He lit up.”
On a rainy day, Torey took a leap of faith and trusted God. Since that day, this ministry has soared and will continue to make an impact. Let’s come together and stand behind Torey and her mission to help the homeless, remembering:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:3
Written by staff writer: Tiffany Lee