Man walks 648-miles for poverty

Terrance Lester is walking from Atlanta to Washington D.C. in order to raise poverty awareness.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Terence Lester is literally "taking a walk in someone else's shoes", a 648-mile walk.

Eleven years ago this inspiring and selfless man spearheaded "Love Beyond Walls" with his wife, Cecilia in Atlanta, Georgia. The organization helps 400-700 families a month with food and amenities.

However, he wanted to do more. That's why Lester is embarking on "Map16" a 648-mile walk from downtown Atlanta to the White House in Washington, D.C.  It's all in an effort to raise awareness for poverty. 

"Poverty is something everybody can relate to," explained Lester. "No matter what color you are, it's a unifying campaign."

Throughout his journey so far, Lester has heard it all, from a senior citizen who walks every day to their organization in Atlanta just to get something to eat, to the single mother of three who was recently evicted from her home and is now living out of her car in Charlotte.

He admits this isn't an easy task and some days are better than others, but it's these stories that give him purpose.

"It's been hard. It's been the hardest thing I've ever done, but if nobody sacrifices to lift people up then what are we doing?"

In 2013, there were more than 20% of Charlotteans living below poverty level, according to CityData.com. Lester hopes his campaign lifts these stories above those stats.

Lester is not doing this completely alone, in addition to the support of his "Love Beyond Walls" organization, Johnny Taylor is a videographer who will be traveling close behind documenting the whole two-month journey. 

"Meeting these people and talking with them realizing there's a bigger picture besides us, that's what keeps us going," Taylor said.

The two are sleeping in a Mobile Makeover Bus and Taylor plans to turn the journey into a documentary when it's over.

Lester has big plans as well, "Ultimately when this is all done, we plan to develop a resource center that will address poverty from multiple angles back in Atlanta." 

He'll call it a "Love Center" that other cities, like Charlotte, can model.

For more on Terence's journey and information on how you can contribute to the cause visit his website here: http://lovebeyondwalls.org/map16/
 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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