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Soccer Coach Finds a Way to Help the Homeless

For almost 10 years, Adam Bruckner, [assistant coach for the Philadelphia Kixx indoor soccer team], has made it his personal mission to help the homeless. Actually, "help" would be an understatement for what he does. Although he earns a modest income, he gives away practically everything. And when he decided that wasn't enough, he whittled his living expenses down to two items: gas for his car and food.

All so he could give still more to those less fortunate.

If you label what Bruckner does extraordinary, he'll look at you as if your head were on sideways. He considers his work his calling.

Bruckner was raised in a typical, middle-class American family. He was a high school jock, and by his own admission, far from a saint. He participated in pranks, drank, and played hard, to the point of earning an athletic scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. After graduation, which he skipped, he went on a road trip to try out for a soccer team in Lafayette, Louisiana. When he didn't make the team, he tried out for teams in Pensacola, Buffalo, New York, Sacramento, and Portland. But it wasn't until he reached Philadelphia that he found a team that needed him.

Though chasing his dream meant taking buses, hitchhiking, staying in cheap hotels, and sleeping on couches in friends' homes, the difficulties weren't lost on Bruckner, who learned many of the hardships of being homeless along the way. So when someone approached him about turning his life over to Christ, something stirred inside him.

After he reached Philadelphia, he opened a Bible and prayed for guidance for his life. That's when it hit him: Walking by faith wasn't about burning bushes and moving mountains. It was about living God's Word and doing things for people less fortunate than yourself. "There was nothing planned about it," Bruckner explains. "It just sort of happened. I've always had a heart for homeless people, and one day I decided to hand out sandwiches to anyone who was hungry. It grew from there. …

"There are a lot of people who believe that the homeless are lazy," Bruckner said. "But a lot of people are unable to help themselves because they might not have the money to get an ID or some other type of document that will help them get a job. I've written a lot of checks to guys so they could get a driver's license and find truck-driving jobs. It's that easy."

So along with his carload of sandwiches and other food, Bruckner brings several checkbooks on his weekly trips to the park. He's painfully aware of scam artists and doesn't hand out checks indiscriminately. Instead, he makes out the checks to the agencies that provide the services the homeless people need but cannot afford.

At first, Bruckner gave away small amounts of money. Fifty dollars here. Seventy-five dollars there. But before long, he'd seriously depleted his bank account. In desperation he called his parents for the first time to ask for money. They covered what he needed.

Today, he's written more than 2,000 checks for a wide variety of purposes, and money issues are almost always looming. Though he continues his attempts to get the city involved, so far he's been unsuccessful. In the meantime, he's started fundraising. The program, called "Philly Restart," collects cash and items that can be sold for at least 10 dollars, donating the proceeds to Bruckner's efforts.

Despite winning several humanitarian awards for his work, Bruckner still considers his project in its infancy. "I've spent more than what I have," he explains, "but I've learned to trust the Lord in everything. He'll never lead us where we can't follow, and he won't give us anything to do that we can't handle. And if we need help from him, all we have to do is ask. I'm living proof of that."

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