On a seemingly normal day, this garbage man, Arnold Harvey would make a decision that would soon affect his own life, and in turn many others.
Just Another Day
It was just another day for garbage man Arnold Harvey. He was going about his daily work when he stumbled upon a particularly distressing scene. In an instant he knew that he was unable to ignore the sight, he had to do something. His decision to act would have a lasting impact on his life.
An Average Joe
Harvey is a father of five hailing from the city of Gaithersburg in Maryland, America. He had once served in the U.S. Army, but after his military stint he found work as a commercial driver with a waste management company. He enjoyed the work and was always proud to offer his neighborhood a valuable service.
A Rough Start
Harvey had not had an easy life. He had grown up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Kansas City. He and his 11 siblings dealt with the hardships of poverty and gang violence. Coming from such a large family, Harvey learned the importance of sharing from a young age.
Being a religious man, Harvey made a promise to himself and to God that he would always share the successes of his life. After years of hard work, Harvey improved his standing, gaining a steady job, starting his own family and purchasing a desirable house in the suburbs.
There are some people who are destined to have an impact on their communities and the world at large. Harvey had always believed he was placed on this earth to spread a message of love and kindness, to help those in need and show true compassion for his fellow man.
A Good Man
Harvey believed that after his good fortune, it was time to give back in some way. He needed to find a cause he believed in and that would make a difference to those around him. As fate would have it, Harvey would soon find himself in a situation where he could finally do good.
A Different Day
In 2007, Harvey was working the graveyard shift in the metro area of Washington. Working from midday to the early hours of the morning, Harvey had witnessed some interesting things. But on that day he would soon uncover a heartbreaking incident that he simply couldn’t ignore.
A Sad Sight
As Harvey made his way down the dark and desolate streets, he noticed that there were many people sleeping rough in the corners of the alleyways. When he took a closer look, he soon realized that many of the homeless people were young children. The sight deeply touched Harvey, who knew who could not stand by and let his fellow man suffer.
A Terrible Discovery
As the sun began to rise, Harvey continued his garbage route with a heavy heart. At one of his usual stops, he was emptying a dumpster, only to discover that a family of four were sleeping behind the garbage bin. It was then that Harvey knew he had to act, he had to make a change to these people’s lives.
Too Sad to Ignore
In a heartfelt interview with People magazine in 2014, Harvey would reveal that the moment was an epiphany for him, a personal experience that would change touch him deeply. “It hurt, it really hurt, to see something like that,” he revealed. “It just turned my heart.” He made a decision to offer his help in any way he could.
When Harvey saw the conditions that these people were living in, he simply knew he could not turn away and do nothing. He teamed up with his brother and got some video footage of the state these people were living in. The pair showed their findings to Harvey’s manager, Harvey asked; “Is there anything we can do as a company?”
With his manager’s permission, Harvey began collecting blankets, coats and warm clothing to donate to the people in need while on his daily rounds. Harvey’s wife, Theresa, also started to make sandwiches to give out at a local homeless shelter. A simple gesture that could feed a hungry stomach and deeply affect another person’s life.
Harvey’s desire to help those in need did not stop there. He would go on to establish and run his own non-profit organization, God’s Connection Transition, that would focus on helping the underprivileged. By 2014, the NPO would help to distribute food and goods to over 5000 families, transforming the lives of these men, women and children.
A Personal Battle
GCT, Arnold’s organization, is committed to helping the homeless and destitute, but also providing much-needed aid to low-income families in the area. Harvey knows first-hand the struggles of trying to raise and support a family on a minnimum wage income. Minnimum wage in the US is just $7.25 per hour.
Harvey has largely made the efforts to help so many others entirely on his own. But soon, after a little publicity, big business like Safeway, Costco, and Pepperidge Farm reached out to Harvey to offer their support, and contribute to the organization free of charge. The NPO continues to touch the lives of so many.
A Changed Life
Helping others has given Harvey and his wife a new outlook on life. There is no greater act than helping a fellow human being and the couple have been truly changed by their acts of generosity and philanthropy. “It changed the whole expectation of our lives,” said Arnold. The couple have said that their concepts of what it means to be a good person and live a full and enriching life has expanded and grown exponentially.
Doing The Work
Harvey is dedicated to making a difference. His story reveals the true impact that we each can have on the lives of others. Small acts of kindness can change the course of someone else’s life. In his community, and around the world, Harvey has now been recognized as an everyman’s hero, an example to all those around him.
Making a Difference
Reverend Dr. Oswen Cameron from the local Lighthouse Ministries International was deeply moved by Harvey’s efforts to help the less fortunate in the area. The reverend’s church has been among the organizations that help feed individuals with donated food. but the church’s efforts never seemed to be quite enough to help the homeless masses.
In Dire Need
Reverend Cameron would later tell People magazine that he believed the work they were doing was “critical and crucial,” adding that if God’s Connection Transition hadn’t been established, “a lot of people would go to bed hungry at night.” Based on a survey conducted in 2016 by the US Census Bureau, more than 43 million Americans live below the poverty line.
Harvey has received some high praise for the incredible work he was doing in the neighborhood. He was even named one of Fortune Magazine’s ‘Heroes of the 500’ in 2014. Each year, the prestigious publication recognizes 50 employees of fortune 500 companies who have made heroic efforts to change the lives of others.
A Viral Sensation
Arnold has also been recognized by a number of publications around the world. His touching story, and the heartfelt message behind it, has earned the world’s attention. His compassion has affected so many, teaching millions of people around the world, that each of us can make a difference with through acts of initiative and kindness.
Although Harvey was grateful and proud of the recognition, he was more interested in hearing from the people in the neighborhood, the men and women who had received his charity and been touched by his contribution. The recipients were not short on praise for the heroic gentleman.
Philomene Binam-Dorsey was just one of the people whose life had been touched by the charitable work of Harvey and his wife. Binam-Dorsey was the mother of seven and worked in childcare; while her husband, Antony, was a maintenance man. Their combined paychecks simply wasn’t enough to cover their household expenses.
A Helping Hand
After hearing about the organization, she began to visit God’s Connection Transition once a month to pick up clothes and a food package. Binam-Dorsey told People magazine, “When you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, food is a necessity, but it’s an expensive necessity. This is a blessing, a godsend.”
The Extra Mile
Offering food to the needy, is not the only way in which Harvey is helping those less fortunate. To provide for local underprivileged children, he also runs annual collections of bicycles, children’s books and toys. He has also given tents to those who are homeless.
Harvey believes the tents do more than just protect people from the harsh elements. “The tents keep them safer and let them sleep better,” he told The Washington Post newspaper in a 2015 interview. “But we also figured out that when we get someone a tent, everything gets better.”
Despite efforts by Harvey and other caritable organizations, the nation’s capital is experiencing a growing epidemic. The homeless population in Washington DC continues to climb. There appears to be a severe lack of affordable housing programs in the area. According to a recent report published by Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Washington has the highest rate of homelessness among America’s big cities.
A Humble Man
While Harvey is passionate and committed to his charity work, he is incredibly humble about the contribution he is making to society. “We’re all human, no matter what situation we’re in,” he told People Magazine in 2014. “[People] just want to know someone cares.”