Long neglected, the city’s historically Black community is slowly coming back — one house at a time
At 7:15 a.m. Saturday, Pastor Anthony Leon Hodge of Finding the Lost Sheep Street Ministry began walking the 24 miles from his home in Mascotte to his Impact Center in East Winter Garden.
It was late morning and still a bit brisk in the shade on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day when an appreciative crowd gathered in front of Winter Garden City Hall to listen to Pastor Anthony Hodge deliver an impassioned performance of the late Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps.
Sharee Villard-Hodge is the founder of the parenting mentoring program Healthy Action Positive Parenting Initiative, based at the Impact Center in East Winter Garden.
When Anthony Hodge and Sharee Villard-Hodge began their street ministry at his old stomping grounds on the east side of Winter Garden, one Center Street resident was persistently honest with them: “We don’t want your preaching here.”
A former church building on Klondike Street is being turned into an outreach center for the community.
Anthony Hodge: An exhibit of black-and-white photos featuring residents and structures is on display at City Hall.