Long-time volunteer sees miracles happen to those in need

He bought the family grocery store at 19 years old, took up photography in his later years, and retired before age 50. For some, this might sound like a dream come true. But after becoming aware of the needs around him, Arthur Hughes’s perspective was changed forever.

“I’ve been retired 31 years and have gotten to choose every morning how I’ll spend my day. [For a while] I was as happy as a lark. But I went on a mission trip to Kentucky, and after that, I was miserable,” he said. 

Arthur realized it was time for a change. He needed to start giving help to those in need.

So, when people from his church told Arthur about StreetWise, he decided to get involved – and over 15 years later, he’s still volunteering.

Volunteer Bonnie Craft and Arthur

“When my wife and I were in charge of the food ministry, we went to local grocery stores that donated canned goods to StreetWise. Now, all kinds of food come to us in truckloads,” Arthur said. 

Not only has Arthur found real meaning in volunteering, but he’s also spread the word and gotten his friends involved, too.

“Working with StreetWise gives you a sense of self-worth, and it reminds you that life isn’t all about you. Serving changes your perspective,” he said. 

Married for 61 years, Arthur and his wife, Jean, have enjoyed volunteering at StreetWise together and have even witnessed miracles with their own eyes.

“One morning, years ago at StreetWise, my wife said that she really wanted the kids who were getting food to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to take to school. Someone had been bringing us a lot of loaf bread, and all we needed was jelly,” he said. “When we finished prayer time and walked outside that day, there was a whole pallet of strawberry preserves. We didn’t know it was coming!”

“Another time at one of our mobile food pantries, after counting – and double-checking – the boxes of food and numbering the cars that were lined up, we discovered there wasn’t enough food,” Arthur said. “But when the last car had come through that day, everyone had gotten a full box of food.”

Arthur and his sister, Ann

In thinking through his time at StreetWise, Arthur appreciates the choices that have been made by StreetWise’s leaders, both in years past and today. 

“I don’t know that StreetWise could get much better than it is. The only way would be to serve more people, but we want to serve the ones we do serve the very best we can,” he said. “If I had to grade StreetWise, I’d give it an A, because it’s run the best way I think it could possibly be run.

“When you’re here, you’re serving the Lord, and our main focus has always been to lead people to the Lord,” he said. “You want to feed the hungry, but that’s not as important as their soul. We want the chance to tell them about Jesus because the focus is eternity.”

And for all the years he’s been involved and all the change he’s seen, Arthur is proud to serve at StreetWise. He encourages others to join him in furthering the mission.

“I was here when we first got meat and vegetables, and I saw people cry over getting to have them because they never had the money to get them before,” Arthur said. ”There are even people who came to us for help who have since gotten back on their feet and come back to contribute financially to StreetWise.

“[This ministry] has snowballed to be so much more than just some donated cans of food, and it’s very rewarding to see.”

Interested in serving in our food ministry, clothing ministry, client advisement, or somewhere else? Visit www.streetwisegeorgia.org/get-involved/volunteer/ to discover volunteer opportunities today.