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Pastor Leaves TV Career To Help Those In Need

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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Mike Albro was producer/director for WJLA, an ABC-TV affiliate in Washington, from 1971 to 1993, he said.

He now does outreach programs aimed at helping heroin addicts and people who live on the street in Frederick.

At ABC, he worked on “Good Morning America.”

“I was making TV dollars,” Albro, 63, said. “My personal life was a mess.”

An Emmy shined from a bookshelf in his office in Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church on West Second Street.

“The other four are in my duffel bag in my garage,” the Rev. Albro said.

He credits the change to a Gideon’s Bible he swiped from a hotel in Nashville, Tenn., during a broadcasters conference in 1975.

He later sent Gideon International $50 for the Bible. Albro became a Christian minister in 1984.

Then in 1993, he said he saw a sign from God. He said God wanted him to go the streets.

He gave up his production work, immersed himself in ministry.

The outreach he does at the Methodist Church started on a $50-a-week budget nine years ago.

Albro became pastor for the church in 2001.

A sous-chef at Firestone’s Restaurant said to him, “There’s a lot of poor people that are hungry. Why don’t we feed them?”

No one knew how to cook, Albro said he told him.

The chef said, “You buy the food. I will cook.”

The church offers a sit-down meal to anyone who is hungry every Wednesday and Saturday evening.

On a recent Wednesday, nearly 200 men, women and some children ate free pizza and homemade food at the church.

The doors opened at 5:30 p.m.

During the meal, Kimberly Janes walked to the kitchen, past Albro.

“She was pushing a baby carriage with a rubber doll in it when I first met her,” he said. “She thought the doll was her baby.”

Janes said had lost her home and children because of addiction. She grabbed the doll from a trash bin on the first day of school. The doll soothed her pain. She now runs a children’s ministry in Sagner. She is happy, she said.

Another woman, Cheryl “Scooter” Szarenski, lived in a tent. Albro befriended her and asked her why she doesn’t get disability for her disabling arthritis. She lives in a home now with other people, he said.

The Frederick News-Post
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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