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Kansas pastor lives homeless for 24 hours to raise awareness about homelessness in Kansas City

Posted at 1:45 PM, Nov 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-16 11:27:59-05

A Kansas pastor is spending this weekend in the cold to raise awareness for homelessness in Kansas City.

For the last eight years, Timmy Gibson with Mercy Church in Prairie Village has lived homeless for 24 hours. This year, several members of his congregation joined him.

“This year is the coldest year that we've ever done and this is the first year it's had snow,” said Gibson.

During the 24 hours that started at 9 a.m. Saturday, Gibson and his group will walk 20 miles around Kansas City. They will visit missions and shelters for meals. And they will spend the night outdoors.

“It's the holiday season,” said Gibson about why he does this. “To raise awareness for the missions that serve homeless people in Kansas City, and there are several.”

Gibson said helping individual homeless people by providing food or blankets is great, but he encourages people to give to the missions and shelters that serve the homeless population.

Gibson said when he was growing up, he avoided homeless people until he read a book several years ago that gave him this idea.

“When I was encountering a homeless person, I often would look away or think, ‘Don't look at me,’” Gibson said. “Ever since living homeless, it's helped me understand they're people too, they deserve my respect and I can say hi.”

During church service Sunday morning, Gibson and his group will talk about their experience and encourage others to find ways to help.