Help with CAPS program

Published 8:25 pm Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homelessness can be an invisible problem to those of us who have a comfortable home to sleep in during all seasons and many family and friends upon whom we can rely if we’re ever in a pinch.

However, many people in our community have neither of those luxuries. They have fallen upon hard times and have no connections. Anyone who has ever faced a long flight of stairs from the bottom knows it’s harder to get back up than it was to get down, because a force that was working for you on the way down is now working against you on the way up.

A program in Suffolk run by a coalition of churches is in its third year of helping solve at least the physical discomfort and safety issues associated with being homeless during the winter.

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The Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk runs the Night Stay program, which offers church buildings as shelter every night during the coldest months of the year. This year’s program begins Dec. 30 and ends March 30.

Churches and other volunteers provide a sleeping room and bathrooms, dinner, breakfast, transportation and the water supply for the shower trailer. Sometimes, bag lunches are also provided. CAPS provides bedding, sheets, towels and toiletries.

Sleeping outside when nighttime temperatures are often below 40 degrees isn’t comfortable. It’s not safe, either, even besides the safety issues presented by sleeping outside anytime.

The chance to have a good meal and a shower also helps the program’s guests tremendously. That could be just the lift they need to help them get back on their feet.

The program is in need of some more churches and volunteers to get involved for this year. Churches that don’t host can gather groups to provide meals, transportation or volunteers for other churches. Individuals can also volunteer to work a shift during the night at another church.

An informational session is coming up at 10 a.m. Saturday at Magnolia United Methodist Church, 1764 Wilroy Road. You’ll be able to talk to coordinators from other churches and learn more about the program. Call 286-9126 or 934-1724 for more information.

Please help if you are able. The opportunity to help your fellow man is too good to pass up.