Photographer: Jemon Haskins
Lynchburg, VA- A church in Lynchburg is helping people get back on their feet after serving time in prison. Dominion Now World Ministries has had several programs like this through the years. Pastor Shirley Hunter says she wants her ministry to make a difference in the community.
And so far, they have Len. Their non-profit restaurant, Fishes and Loaves, is home to several people looking to make a new start in life. And their most notable employee is a big man, with a gentle heart, named Marcus.
"Marcus is faithful to come in 30 minutes early because he wants to make sure his job is already prepared, that when that customer comes in that door, he's not ripping' and running'. He's thinking ahead all the time," said Shirley Hunter, Pastor at Dominion Now World Ministries.
"Now I know I have to have patience you know, because things aren't going to happen overnight," said Marcus.
Three months ago, Marcus finished serving a 26-year prison sentence for malicious wounding and robbery.
"I was just young at the time. And I actually made a mistake at the time," said Marcus.
"Everybody needs a second chance," said Pastor Shirley.
"Now that I've served the time for it, I learned a lot since I've been in and I'm trying to change my life right now," said Marcus.
That's where Pastor Shirley stepped in with Fishes and Loaves.
"If you come out of the system of incarceration and come out, the first thing you need is somebody to say, come on, let's work," said Shirley.
"Glad that they took a chance on me to give me the opportunity that I can prove that I can succeed out here in society," said Marcus.
Pastor Shirley's program employs those who might not look so good on paper...and helps them build a resume.
She says the most important part of the process, is building faith.
"If they got a heart to really want to do it. Then with the help of the Lord, we can help you do it," said Shirley.
"She's a good boss. She stays on top of me. Tough love," said Marcus.
Marcus says focusing on his faith helps him slow down and remember the kind of person he wants to be. He says he'd like to have a career in cooking, but can't think too far ahead right now. He's taking it one day at a time.