Winter-themed giveaway for the struggling set today

The Rev. Ronnie Coffey heads the local Forerunners For Christ ministry.

The Rev. Ronnie Coffey has long been a man of the streets.

Years ago, that meant he was homeless. Today, he’s ministering to the homeless, spiritually and practically.

That’s why his Christian ministry called Forerunners For Christ has organized his fifth annual giveaway of winter hats, coats and gloves from 1 to 4 p.m. today in the parking lot of the Columbus Public Library, 536 Fifth St.

In the past, such events have attracted anywhere from 50 to 100 people in need — people Coffey regularly visits.

“I’ve built a trust with most of them,” Coffey said. “They’re living out in the woods and under the bridges. That’s why God called me back to the streets.”

That was some 11 years ago.

Coffey currently depends upon the support of the Family Bible Church in Columbus and the Real Live Warriors local ministry to boost his outreach to the struggling.

“If it weren’t for these ministries like this, I couldn’t be out doing this,” he said. “We basically run on the hearts of the people and the love of Jesus.”

Once per year, the former Salvation Army officer also organizes a block party for the struggling and the homeless. He worries about far more than the practical, though. He once posted a Facebook message reading: “Satan’s biggest lie: You have plenty of time to get right with God.”

He has publicly offered petitions on the local program of the National Day of Prayer with words such as this: “Lord, we ask that the Holy Spirit be a wall of protection and deliverance around the homeless; watch over them while they sleep.”

In the meantime, Coffey promises that he will continue watching over them, too.