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Pooler Magazine

Socks to Sandwiches: Bloomingdale Woman Survives Car Crash and Expands Homeless Ministry

Story by Stephen Prudhomme
Photography by Leidy Lester 

On July 5, 2022, Kimberly Golden and her son distributed bags containing a pair of socks and a sandwich to the homeless in Savannah. Later that night, Golden was on an Uber run when she was hit by a drunk driver near Berwick Plantation and suffered extensive injuries.

Her days of helping the homeless would not end on that night, however. Enjoying a miraculous recovery that allowed her to return home after five days, the Bloomingdale woman enlisted the help of her church to expand the ministry and acquire nonprofit status.

Once homeless, Golden is seeing to the material needs of those in the same situation while offering spiritual nourishment.

Socks & Sandwiches

Golden operates Socks & Sandwiches. Last November, she was granted nonprofit status. This allows her to solicit sponsorships. Golden funds the ministry with her own money and donations from family, friends and members of her church, Bread of Life Ministries, in Pooler.

Every other month, Golden, her pastor and other members of the church distribute 100 bags containing two pairs of socks, a sandwich from Jersey Mike’s, a Bible track, church information card, and a Socks & Sandwiches card featuring the Bible verse from Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans.” They visit the homeless in Savannah’s Johnson, Franklin and Ellis squares and finish at a park one block south of 37th Street.

The socks are unisex and vary in length and thickness, depending on the season. Golden pays full price for the Jersey Mike’s sandwiches. She said she inquired about a discount and was told the company only assists selected charities. Golden receives some unexpected help at times, however.

“A stranger donated $50 after seeing what we were doing,” said Golden, noting they minister to the homeless, most of whom are men. “That made us feel good. That’s inspiring.”

The Road to Ministry

Golden’s recovery from a near-fatal accident and journey from homeless to a family woman heading up a ministry is equally inspiring.

Living in Florida, Golden found herself homeless due to marijuana use, criminal activities and generally “not obeying God.” From 1999 to 2008, she either lived on the streets or with family; she said an individual is classified as homeless if they’re not paying rent or mortgage.

Golden’s fortunes began to change when she qualified for a Section 8 housing voucher in Florida. She used it for four years there and another four years when she moved to Georgia in 2011. In February, Golden and her husband, whom she met shortly after coming to Georgia, moved to Bloomingdale.

In 2018, Golden started driving for Uber. She also attended church and said she “heard” God telling her to start a ministry for the homeless, often receiving this message at sermons. At first, she didn’t listen to God’s voice.

“I would tell God you’re not talking to me,” Golden said. “It was the doubt of the enemy.”

When it became clear God was speaking to her, Golden finally heeded the calling. Recalling her own experience of being homeless and getting her feet wet and always looking for a bite to eat, she started the Socks & Sandwiches ministry.

Golden and her son packed 10 bags for men and 10 for women with two pairs of socks and sandwiches they made. They went to the homeless encampment under the Truman Parkway in Savannah and distributed them. Despite some initial concerns over their safety, Golden said the visit went well.

Golden planned subsequent visits, but then came the accident that nearly claimed her life.

The Accident

A motorist ignored a blinking caution light as Golden was heading south on Hwy. 17 and crashed into the front driver’s side of her car. “It was dark out,” Golden said. “I didn’t see him coming. All I saw was a bright light before he hit me.”

Golden later found out he had been drinking since the previous day, starting at a July 4th party. Golden was taken to Memorial Hospital with an exploded abdomen, broken vertebrae and ribs and numerous other injuries.

Shirlenia Daniel, executive pastor of Bread of Life Ministries, said Golden is a faithful woman of God who had always showed up for services since joining the church when it first opened in 2014. Otherwise, she would call to say she was running late.

Daniel grew concerned when she didn’t hear from Golden and did a lot of praying. She found out about the accident and visited Golden in the hospital, afraid how she would find her friend. Despite seeing her in a neck brace, her leg in the air and a cast on her wrist, Daniel realized her fears were unfounded.

“Her spirit was so inviting,” Daniel said. “She had an amazing attitude and said she was sorry she didn’t call following the accident. It was a rejoiceful time.”

Following two surgeries, Golden, amazingly, went home after five days. She noticed her ankles were swollen and subsequently learned she had broken both of them and had to wear casts for 12 weeks. Nevertheless, Golden considers herself blessed.

“I still have arms, legs and eyes,” she said. “God had me making dinner for my husband 36 days after the accident. It’s a miracle.”

By last November, Golden was “fully upright” and ready to return to her ministry but wanted to do it on a larger scale. Concerned with Golden’s safety, her pastor, Erick Daniel, his wife, Shirlenia, and other members of the church joined the effort. The team has gone out three times since then, working as a team to provide socks, sandwiches and hope for an eternal life devoid of homelessness and the other woes afflicting mankind. Their next visit was planned for Oct. 21.

A Heart for People

Erick, senior pastor and founder of Bread of Life Ministries, describes Golden as a woman of God who loves God and has a heart for people. He adds she’s small in stature but big in heart. Erick told Golden she didn’t need to be out there by herself and to use wisdom in such an undertaking. That led to Erick and others joining the ministry and marveling at the woman who started it.

“It’s totally awesome,” said Erick, noting it reminds him of outreach work he did at a church in North Carolina. “She’s a person who really loves the Lord and hasn’t forgotten where she came from. My heart went out to her when I heard of the ministry and asked how we could support her.”

The visits to help the homeless are an opportunity to witness to them, share prayer and give them resources to improve their lives, according to Erick. Some of individuals, he adds, joined his church, where they receive help with food, clothing and interviewing for a job.

A lot of the funds for the ministry come out of Golden’s pocket, according to Shirlenia. She said it’s her ministry, her baby, and Golden’s commitment to it didn’t waver following her accident.

“She said God had put it on her heart to do it,” Shirlenia said. “She wasn’t going to stop and would remain faithful.”

Golden kept her word, buttressed by a church family that shares her commitment to demonstrate their faith through good works, as commanded by God.

“We encourage them to have a better life,” Shirlenia said. “The goal is to get them off the streets. We’ve even led some to salvation.”

Mary Daniels is an elder at Bread of Life Ministries and a member since 2016. She joined Golden’s ministry last November.

“It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about the Lord and encourage them that they don’t have to be homeless,” Daniels said. “It’s a chance to listen to their story and realize we’re a job away from being homeless. A lot of people don’t want to approach the homeless because they’re dirty or smell. We have to look at the inside of a person.”

Daniels describes Golden as no-nonsense but also the kindest person.

“Kim would give you the shirt off her back,” Daniels said. “She’s been through a lot in her life, and that’s prepared her for what she’s doing now. She’s so kind and compassionate. I enjoy being her friend.”

Golden has learned to listen to God and follow his instruction. She recognizes she could have died in the accident, but God still has work for her to do in helping the less fortunate and offering an insight and empathy borne out of her own experience of being homeless.

“I’ve always been a person to help others,” Golden said. “I enjoy letting people know they’re not alone and God is sending people to help you. The ministry is spiritual.”  ■