CRESTVIEW — Members of Faith Independent Baptist Church in Niceville recently turned to Crestview Police officers to help distribute "blessing bags" to the Hub City's homeless.
The church's youth group loaded almost 30 reusable cloth shopping bags until they bulged with toiletries, warm socks, underwear and other necessities. Then youth leader Callie Rawles recruited her brother, Crestview Police Investigator Chaise Rawles, and Cmdr. Andrew Schneider to help ensure the bags got where they were most needed.
With Callie in the backseat, officers headed to Crestview homeless people's favorite hangouts. Transients tend to gather near the interstate, Schneider said, while regular homeless people, who are generally better known to police, tend to keep quietly to themselves farther north near the center of town.
"Usually they're pretty shy around the police," Schneider said of the homeless. "When they learn we're not out to hassle them but want to help them, they open up."
Note: The original version of this article incorrectly listed the church's name as Faith Independence Baptist Church.