Retired Police Officer Sings Gospel Music to 40 Homeless People at Emergency Shelter

Combined Shape

As winter creeps in and takes hold in many parts of the country, those without a home are in particular need of shelter, food and clothing.

There are many programs that can meet these needs — from individuals handing out items, to groups that provide soup kitchens, Thanksgiving meals, and warm, clean places to sleep — but they can always use more help.

The Stewpot Opportunity Center in Jackson, Mississippi, was founded in 1981 by seven churches of various denominations, all with a shared mission to feed the hungry.

While the center initially only offered food, it quickly grew and now provides shelter, programs, counseling, and many other needs for the homeless community in Jackson.

“As the only day shelter in the city, Opportunity Center provides a safe, clean place for homeless men and women to be during the daytime hour,” the center’s website explains.

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“Open seven days a week, clients can take showers, wash clothes, store bags, receive mail, use telephones and computers as well as receive case management services and referrals to other resources. Resume and job search assistance is also provided.”

Food, clothing, shelter, and hygiene are necessities for any human being. But thanks to volunteers, there are other humanizing events that the center offers as well: things that may not be strictly necessary, but certainly strengthen the human spirit — like music.

Montel D. Cleaver Sr. is a retired police sergeant and has worked with Stewpot for more than two decades, according to WLBT. He was a security guard, but he also serves food and helps in other ways.

Earlier this week, that included singing. He put on a little show for those in the center, belting out Gospel music as a woman played the piano.

The center posted video footage of the scene on Wednesday.

“We even had an impromptu concert by our own Police Sgt.- really cool to feel the spirit of the words in the room, loving neighbors and being friends,” the post read.

The video soon made the rounds and people were touched by the display of talent and care evident in the music.

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“Omg, keep on encouraging the people with songs,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “God bless you and keep you safe.”

“Thanks to Morgan Howard at WLBT for recognizing our cool moment and featuring it as a story on their website; and for helping to get the word out about how to better help our friends,” the center wrote on Facebook.

Cleaver Sr. is a great example of dedication sacrifice and compassion — and clearly knows how to help feed the body and the soul.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking