SANTA ANA (CBS) — An Orange County shelter is offering food, prayer and safety advice to street people who could be potential targets for a serial killer.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports volunteers at the Orange County Rescue Mission have begun handing out more than just meals to its needy visitors.

Every Thursday, the Rescue Mission feeds homeless people in the Santa Ana Civic Center, but not without first giving thanks.

“Father God, thank you for this meal, I ask for your hand of protection in this area for the people we love and serve here,” prayed Orange County Rescue Mission president Jim Palmer before a recent meal at the shelter.

The homeless community here has been shaken following the murders of three transients in recent weeks in Anaheim and Placentia.

Paulus Smith, 57, James McGillivray, 53, and Lloyd Middaugh, 42, were all attacked and killed while they were asleep within days of one another.

And now in addition to a bowl of chili, Palmer said the shelter is also distributing a packet with safety information and potentially life-saving tools.

“We’re giving them a flashlight that’s held by a lanyard and has a whistle on it that allows them to call for help in a sense, or hopefully scare somebody off if somebody’s following them,” he said.

While Palmer and other mission volunteers are warning the homeless to avoid staying on the streets at night if possible, at least one man believes there is strength in numbers.

“There’s some of us that stay out here and if the guy wants to come, we don’t want no trouble, because we’re grouped,” he said. “He’s a coward.”


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