Roanoke Va. (WFXR) — The Least of These Ministry aims to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the Roanoke Valley homeless population.

Dawn and David Sandoval started The Least of These Ministry 10 years ago. Their humble journey of service has consisted of grit, grace, persistence, and passion.

“We were just quietly doing our thing from the back of my husband’s Tahoe and just begging our friends on Facebook to bring coats and gloves and things like that to make blessing bags out of shoeboxes. Here we are in 2021 with a ministry truck that God’s blessed us with and we now have a space that has a shower, laundry facilities, and a supply pantry with all the items that we distribute. Gosh, you just can’t outdo God”

Dawn Sandoval, Least of These Ministry

If you frequent downtown Roanoke, you may see the Least of These Ministry truck out often. The truck is a decommissioned ambulance loaded with blankets, food, water, bandages, socks, batteries, anything one experiencing homelessness may need to feel more comfortable.

The moment the Least of These Ministry truck can be spotted by those seeking assistance, one can hear, “Hello Mrs. Dawn!” echo from yards away. Dawn Sandoval is the heartbeat of Least of These Ministry and her arrival is a sign of hope for so many experiencing homelessness. Not only does Dawn as well as the volunteers with the ministry provide much-needed necessities, but also, feed the soul through compassion, friendship, and providing a listening ear.

“We are all one set of circumstances away from being right beside them on the sidewalk, one bad choice, one bad decision, an accident, a broken marriage. That could happen to any of us at any time and so we never want to think that we are above anyone that we see on the streets. We are all broken individuals, our lights just shine through different cracks that’s all.”

Dawn Sandoval, Least of These Ministry

The Least of These Ministry views all people as children of God and worthy to be served regardless of the reason for their living situation. In addition to addressing immediate needs on the street, they assist in finding and securing affordable housing, secure hotel arrangements during inclement weather, and provide transportation for people to reunite with their support system.

As one can imagine, continuing these efforts requires community funding and grants.

One of the ways that the community can support the nonprofit is through the fourth annual Hustle for the Homeless 5k race taking place this Saturday at 8:00 a.m. There’s also a virtual Hustle at Home 5k.

“We want to see people come out and support the Hustle for the Homeless because it’s not just an opportunity to get exercise, you think about coming and running or walking 3.1 miles and you’re running it on the streets of downtown, the fountains of water where they may wash their face in the morning, symbolically, they are traveling much more than 3.1 miles every single day just trying to find a safe, well-lit place to sleep; somewhere that they’re not going to be robbed or injured or worse. So, we would love to see people get behind this race.”

Dawn Sandoval, Least of These Ministry