Former drug addict rescuing others from addiction and hunger

Rick Grider was nominated for Pay It Forward for partnering with Scenic City ARK ministry to feed the homeless in Chattanooga.(IMAGE: Carla Mitchell) 

A man from Chattanooga is offering hope to the homeless, one meal at a time.

As a former drug addict, he says he used to live on the streets of Atlanta.

Now his church is teaming up with a local organization to tackle hunger locally.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn shares his incredible story.

Rick Grider tells us he knows what it's like to have nothing, to feel desperate and hopeless.

But nearly 10 years ago, he was given a second chance and now he's using that experience to rescue others from addiction and hunger.

For some people, Sundays are a day of rest, but not for Rick Grider.

"His heart is just so big, he's one of those gentle giants," said Tee Slater who nominated Rick for Pay It Forward.

Tee Slater says, last year Rick invited her and her son Marcus to help feed nearly 200 homeless people in downtown Chattanooga.

It's a partnership between the non-profit, Scenic City Ark Ministry and Rick's congregation at Chattanooga Church.

Tee says the experience changed her. "You get to minister to them, and the first thing they say is, you don't know our situation, but I tell them, yeah, some of us do."

Tee and Marcus wanted to thank Rick for his kindness. So they staged an emergency meeting at their church, then waited in the conference room for him to show up.

"Surprise, you need to come on in and see what's going on. On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we would like to Pay it Forward to you Rick, because you are awesome," surprised Tee.

Rick was emotional as he hugged Marcus and then it was time for the cash.

"You wear so many hats," said Tee.

"I love you guys," said Rick.

"We love you too baby," said Tee.

Rick also helped renovate Chattanooga Church, remodeling the bathroom and hand-crafting the greeter center.

We asked what inspires him to give selflessly to others.

"Up until 2008, I was homeless and I was on meth in the streets of Atlanta, and that night God freed me from that. And he started blessing me with a good wife and a good church. And it's on my heart , it's what God tells me to do," said Rick.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for doing a good deed? Nominate them here.

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