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SPORTS: Brotherly love in Philadelphia

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Every Monday at 4 p.m., Adam Bruckner gives away money to people he doesn’t know.

His financial resources are drained, and he doesn’t know how much longer he’s going to be able to continue.

But that doesn’t stop Bruckner, an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Kixx indoor soccer team, from setting up a table of food on a street in Philadelphia to provide a decent meal to homeless people who desperately need the help.

At the same time the food line is serving people, other homeless people form another line to collect checks from Bruckner — mainly for the cost of obtaining a birth certificate or other form of identification so they can apply for a job.

“It’s not a matter of saying yes. It’s that I don’t say no,” Bruckner, 29, said. “I didn’t make a decision to do it. It just kind of happened.”

Bruckner has always had a heart for homeless people, and about three years ago he started going out every week to pass out sandwiches to those who were hungry.

“I prayed about how God can use me in the city,” he said. “All of a sudden I’m right there.”

At first Bruckner was able to handle the cost of the operation — which amounted to a couple of hundred dollars a month. No big deal.

But from there it snowballed. Now his costs are running into the thousands on a monthly basis. Earlier this week, Bruckner had $400 of checks cashed in one day. He even had to call his parents for the first time in his life and ask for money to help make ends meet.

“I’m in trouble,” he said. “I don’t know where it’s going now. It’s huge.”

Bruckner doesn’t simply hand out cash indiscriminately. He makes the checks out to the agencies that provide the services the homeless people need but cannot afford. Fifty dollars here, $75 there. Before long, it starts adding up.

Most of these people are genuinely destitute and just need a little boost to get back on their feet. Many apply for jobs as truck drivers, but they have to have state identification before they can be hired.

That’s where Bruckner has come in for the past three years. By his calculations, he’s written well more than 2,000 checks in that time for such purposes.

Almost weekly someone Bruckner has helped will come up to him on the street and thank him for his help. He’s heard all kinds of success stories, and those help keep him going.

The money, however, is a looming problem. He’s trying to get the city involved to take over the financial part of his operation. So far nothing has materialized, and Bruckner knows he’s facing some significant decisions very quickly.

But he also knows how much good he’s doing, and he trusts God will help him meet the needs — both for the homeless people and for himself.

“I just trust that God’s not going to put me in a situation I can’t handle,” he said.

That confidence in God’s providence, and his devotion to help people shunned by most of society, put many of us to shame. The world needs more Adam Bruckners.
Tim Ellsworth’s column appears each week in BPSports, online at www.bpsports.net.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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