LA pastor spreads holiday goodwill with $5 envelopes for homeless

December 9, 2015
Pastor Shin Suk-geun, left, has begun handing out envelopes containing $5 to the homeless in Downtown Los Angeles as a part of an annual end-of-the-year effort. (Park Sang-hyuk)

Pastor Shin Suk-geun, left, has begun handing out envelopes containing $5 to the homeless in Downtown Los Angeles as a part of an annual end-of-the-year effort. (Park Sang-hyuk)

By Park Ju-yeon

For the last five years in Downtown Los Angeles, the holiday season has brought out 59-year-old pastor Shin Suk-geun, equipped with stacks of envelopes containing $5 and bearing a cheery “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” for local homeless.

Shin, who has a day job as a driver for apparel company Unit Fashion, has taken church donations to hand out to the homeless population yearly since 2011.

Shin began handing out the 200 envelopes Monday.

“Five dollars may not be much money, but I started this thinking that [the homeless] could at least buy one warm meal,” Shin said. “The homeless who receive the envelopes show tears sometimes, and I feel good about what I’m doing, but at the same time I’m uneasy when I see the numbers of the homeless population growing.”

He said he hopes to see a recovered economy bring people out of misfortune.

“Everyone is struggling, but if someone who receives an envelope goes and lends a hand to someone else, wouldn’t that make for a good society?” Shin said.

The pastor has also donated toward senior homes, scholarships for seminary students and the needy in Korea and Cambodia.

Call 213-507-8441 to donate.

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