ABC officers, volunteers band together to provide homeless with food, medical care in Uptown

The mission of Operation Restore Hope was to clean up Uptown and help those in need.
The mission of Operation Restore Hope was to clean up Uptown and help those in need.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 10:36 PM EST

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Officers known for enforcing alcohol laws in Mecklenburg County traded in their skills Wednesday to help people experiencing homelessness in Uptown, handing out water and snacks, and cleaning up parts of the city.

“Very eye opening for me, a lot of times you walk by and you just never know what people are going through,” Cherise Walker, the Project Coordinator for Mecklenburg County’s ABC Board, said of the experience.

The mission of Operation Restore Hope was to clean up Uptown and help those in need.

Volunteers and law enforcement worked together to make it happen, all thanks to one man.

“So, I had the idea if I was able to give a bottle of water, some crackers, a Slim Jim, get some medical help for somebody that couldn’t afford it, then I would be appreciative of that,” Scott Minderlein, a Mecklenburg County ABC Officer, said.

Minderlein noticed a need and organized dozens of volunteers from around the greater Charlotte area.

“It’s not always about law enforcement, sometimes it’s actually about how much you care and how much you’re able to contribute and help the community,” Walker said.

Several groups of people walked blocks cleaning up trash and working to beautify the Uptown area.

“It started with just picking up trash in downtown Charlotte, trying to just cleanup the community, a community betterment engagement project if you will, and then it turned into an overall initiative of just helping people,” Minderlein said.

ABC officers handed out 60 bags filled with water, snacks and sunglasses to people who don’t have a permanent home.

“Somebody maybe sick and not know that they’re sick, somebody may need a cut looked at and may not understand, or just need to talk to somebody and they may not have the ability to do that,” Minderlein said.

The goal was to bring services to the homeless, so nursing students and medical providers were on-hand to assist people with any health issues that arose.

“It’s honestly very rewarding for all of us, the whole point of the program we’re in is to help people and we do it in our jobs, but today we get to come out and help people we don’t see every day who can’t come in and get help that they need,” Loryn Shropshire, a student at Rowan Cabarrus Community College, said.

Volunteers understand their efforts were just a drop in the bucket, but they wanted to provide people with some comfort today during their time of homelessness.

“It’s never good to see our homeless population the way that we’re seeing it today, but being able to in just a very small way let the community know that we care,” one volunteer said.

The ABC Board wants this event to expand and happen at least once a month in Uptown Charlotte helping the homeless.

Organizers said expanded events will all depend on the availability of resources and volunteers.

Related: Homeless population steadily increasing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg area