Thursday, July 17, 2014

Greetings in the name of Jesus. Just wanted to give an update on Keeping It Real Ministries: In mid –May, the rent on the ministry`s 3 houses was raised beyond the budget. An affordable house was found to serve parsonage, and 2 of the men currently living there. A permanent solution for a men`s house ( to accommodate 6-8) is still needed. Please pray that God will provide the right house for this life saving men`a ministry. We continue to worship in the Gadsden street corner of the park, without permit fees. However, Pastor Gadsden received a letter from Parks and Recreation stating that fees may be required in the near future. This is an outrage, when you consider how $600 per month could be use to help the homeless. I encourage you to write to city council. Members include Mayor Steve Benjamin, Sam David, Tameika Issac Devine, Leona Plaugh and Moe Baddourah. The address is City of Columbia, PO box 147, Columbia, SC 29217. We would be grateful for your efforts to express your opinions to city council. We always invite you to join us for worship in the park. We are always excited to have people share a testimony, a song, or a message. Thank you and God bless!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

God is so awesome! It was a gorgeous day in Finlay Park for our 9th Anniversary Celebration! It is difficult to believe, but wonderful to know that Pastor Oscar have been doing this difficult but necessary work for 9 years! We don't yet have a tally on how many we served, but it was a large crowd. We are extremely grateful to the volunteers who gave of their time, to those who donated food, and to those who donated backpacks, t-shirts, and toiletries. You all are extraordinary! Thank you and God bless you!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Keepin' It Real Ministries will Resume Service in the Park This Sunday

Greetings to you all! God is so good! We have fabulous news! Worship will resume in Finlay Park this coming Sunday (March 9th) at 3pm. We will no longer be able to use the stage but Pastor Oscar is fairly certain that we will be located in the back corner of the park, bordered by Gadsden Street. We hope that you will come out to worship with us! Without the protection of the stage, noe of our ongoing needs will be 2 to 3 pop up canopies. If you know of any that we might use, would you please let us know?

For the Anniversary Celebration (to be held on April 13th), we are in need of backpacks, t-shirts, and food for the meal. The meal coordinator is Tonya Maxwell (maxwell_latonya@yahoo.com) and volunteer coordinator is Richard Krause (richard.krause2468@gmail.com), if you would like to help. If underwear is donated, it will be included in the backpacks, and we also need sodas or bottled water to go with the meal. Sometimes people donate hams, turkeys, and other food items, and we have to search for freezer space. Oscar has asked that he is searching for a used freezer. If you can help us locate one, we would be grateful.

Also, there is a need for more boxes to store our donations. We currently use cardboard boxes but we are in need for plastic boxes. They will last longer, hold more donations, and will stack into each other more straight. We will also be able to see the clothes and other materials in them. If you would like to know more about this need or how you can help by sponsoring some boxes or donating for the box purchase you can speak to Jacob Carter (jacob29072@gmail.com) for more information.

Thank you and God Bless!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Greetings in the name of Jesus! As you are likely aware, city council will be enforcing a permit system for the use of public parks by groups larger than 25. This would require Keepin’ It Real to pay a deposit of $350, and then a $75 per hour fee every Sunday. This is beyond the ministry budget, and even if it were affordable, it seems unconscionable to think that that money would go to the city and not for assistance to the homeless people that we are trying to serve. It is reasonable to require permits, but unreasonable to charge fees to non-profits. Pastor Oscar is in the process of finding an alternate location for worship and events. We will let you know where to find us when that decision is made. If you feel that this is unfair, we encourage you to voice your concerns to city council and to the mayor’s office! On a happier note, we are launching preparations for the 9th Annual Anniversary Celebration!! It will be held on Sunday, April 13th, at 2 pm, location TBA. We will worship together, feed a meal, and distribute backpacks with necessities. We are planning to bless 400-450 homeless. Will you help us? To make our goal, we need 300 new backpacks (18 or 19 inch), 300 new t-shirts (L-XXL), and new underwear (450 pr.). We are seeking individuals, churches, businesses, and groups to collect these items. The most cost effective way is to search for bulk discounts on-line. Wholesale Stockroom told us that we can order bulk for an added discount in mid- March when inventories are restocked, so financial donations would go toward ordering backpacks. Other sources we have used are www.cottonconnection.com, www.brooktextiles.com, and www.northpines.org. (If you find other good sources, please share!!!) Backpacks will be pre-loaded for ease of distribution, so we would need eveything by April 4th. Pastor Oscar is asking for pledges of a specific number, so that we can advise others as needed. Please let us know if you are able to help! We will also need volunteers to prepare and bring food. We are in need of turkey, ham, chicken, starches (mashed potatoes, rice, gravy, sweet potatoes, mac n’ cheese), vegetables, sodas/water, and desserts. We hope you can prepare some food and/or come out to serve. If you are a prayer warrior who would like to come out to pray with these dear folks, we would be grateful for you. If you would like to help, please contact our meal coordinator at Maxwell_latonya@yahoo.com, or our volunteer coordinator at Richard.krause2468@gmail.com. We are excited to watch God work through you! The homeless will be on the receiving end of this effort and will be blessed, but those who serve will be blessed as well – many times over!! We hope you will enlist your family and friends, and we look forward to hearing from you! We also ask for your prayers that this Anniversary Celebration will enable the homeless to hear and respond to the gospel message, or be strengthened in their Christian walk. Hope to hear from you!

Friday, December 27, 2013



Thank you, thank you to all of the volunteers who gave of their time to come out to feed the homeless on Christmas! Please know how much you were appreciated by those you served, and by the volunteers of Keepin’ It Real Ministries. Pastor Oscar estimates that we fed around 200, and prepared another 50 meals to take to senior citizens. There is no way that this could have happened without you taking the time to prepare food and to come out to serve. (There were some people who weren’t able to come, but sent food anyway. God bless you!) Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ!

We hope that you might like to be involved in the ministry at other times of the year! You are very welcome to come out to Finlay Park any Sunday at 3 pm to participate in worship. If you would like to participate financially, your gifts will be used to help pay rent and utilities at the transitional houses, the rent on the storage units (where donated items are collected, sorted, and stored until they can be distributed), and for gas and upkeep on the ministry van. Donations can be mailed to Keepin’ It Real Ministries, 1037 Elmwood Ave, Box 11, Columbia, SC 29201. Donations of clothing, toiletries, backpacks, coats, blankets, reading glasses, and Bibles, and furniture (for those transitioning off of the street) are also needed. Donations may be dropped off at U-Haul Moving and Storage on Elmwood.  Your gifts are crucial and much appreciated.

Thank you so very, very much for being a blessing to others! God bless you!!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Looking for a way to serve this Christmas? Meals for the homeless are served on Christmas, but none at suppertime.  Keepin' It Real Ministries is working on plans for such a meal on December 25th. It will be served at the bus transit station on the corner of Laurel and Sumter Streets. The meal will be served outside, but the building offers a roof overhang and some lighting. It is also where the homeless can catch the bus to the winter shelter for the night.  Volunteers should arrive at 4 pm; the meal will begin at 4:30.

Will you please help us to provide this meal? If you will be town and cooking for your family, why not prepare extra!?! Menu items still needed include turkey, ham, chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and vegetables. If you would like to help but can’t stay to serve, it would certainly be OK to drop off food, or send it with someone who is coming. It works best to package food in aluminum pans, placed in boxes or coolers to keep it warm.

The gift of your presence, fellowship, and prayers will be a huge blessing for the homeless, and it is sincerely hoped that you will consider being a part of this effort. If you would like to help, please contact the ministry through the website (contact us page), or call Pastor Oscar Gadsden at 803.406.0724. Thank you and God bless!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Thanksgiving Bash was a wonderful success! We fed approximately 350 people and distributed 318 backpacks with hoodies, t-shirts, and toiletries. Worship was inspirational with song, litergical dance, and a message full of hope from a wonderful young friend of the ministry named Christian.

We must especially thank the army of volunteers who donated backpacks and clothing, packed toiletry kits,  prepared food, served the meal, and gave of themselves - reaching out as the hands and feet of Christ! Thank you and God bless!!!