Sarasota native returns to explain massive annual project to help homeless in Orlando

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - A Sarasota native returned from Orlando for the day to tell about a massive annual homeless outreach initiative called "He got up."

Pastor Tim Johnson told community leaders from Sarasota and Manatee Counties Wednesday morning about a project that offers dozens of services to thousands of homeless people in Central Florida. 

"We had 120 organizations,  including government, nonprofit, service providers and the faith community come together at Camping World Stadium in Orlando and serve thousands of individuals in need. (It's satisfying) to be able to see them get back to the pathway of sustainability," Pastor Johnson said. 

Among the services offered were haircuts, showers, food, medical and legal advice. 

Among those in attendance at Alderman Oaks Retirement Center was Sarasota Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie, who liked what she heard. 

"I am excited, with the legal community getting involved,  with restoration of drivers' licenses and removing the barrier to employment, with companies saying 'I will give an exemption to people who have criminal barriers, I'll give them jobs,' that's the partnership that's necessary, so I'm all in," she said. 

Pastor Johnson graduated from Sarasota High School, played for the Penn State Nittany Lions' national championship team, and then won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins.  He lives in Orlando with his wife and three children.