Now that winter is swinging into full effect, one Buffalo, N.Y., church is making sure everyone in its community is staying warm by converting an old school bus into a clothing pantry, offering hats, gloves, scarves, coats and mittens – you name it – to those in need.
For the homeless, staying warm throughout winter is priority number one, often more so than food, as staying warm is a minute to minute issue, whereas, while not ideal by any means, one can survive missing a meal for a day here and there. However, full or hungry, one can freeze to death in a matter of several minutes if it is cold enough, especially if one becomes wet. While most communities do have some facilities for the homeless, they are often overflowing their capacity and many still end up sleeping outside, in the streets.
That’s where and why the True Bethel Baptist Church stepped in.
Bethel Baptist took an old school bus and turned it into “The Shepherd’s Closet” portable clothing pantry, patrolling the streets of the community looking for those in need of winter clothing. From students to the homeless, the church provides warmth to those struggling against the winter’s cold entirely for free, without question. If you are lacking and shivering on a street corner, folks from Bethel Baptist will approach you and offer an article of clothing to help keep you warm.
Though True Bethel Baptist Church has a warehouse from which people can seek clothing donations should they need them, the church recognized that the folks who needed their charity the most were the ones so hard-pressed that they did not even have transportation to collect such helpful donations as a new winter coat may provide in the midst of a January arctic blast. That was the church’s primary motivation for seeking a school bus. They needed to find a way to bring the donations to the people, rather than the other way around.
According to WIVB News, Bethel Baptist ended up dropping its original launch date for its latest project because the weather was starting to get so cold all of a sudden. Though the interior of the bus has yet to be entirely finished, Pastor Darius Pridgen felt they better get on the move and get out there in the community before any more time passed.
Together, the church’s parishioners stocked the bus with winter clothing and began patrolling the local neighborhoods. Pridgen hopes his church will be able to hand out some $200,000 worth of winter clothing this season.
“I challenge people and encourage them, because that’s what I’m going to do… keep some extra gloves, some extra hats (for) when you see senior and you see children out. God would just have us to be the angel and not wait on an organization,” Pridgen said.
Pridgen said he got the idea when considering that the church’s portable food pantry helped over 5,000 people in need last summer.
Featured image via WIVB News video screen capture.