• 64°

CAPS needs your help this winter

To the editor:

The recent tragedies in our nation and around the world have created an outpouring of opinions on what the churches should do, what businesses should do, and what “everybody else” should do.

There was much criticism in the media about a certain megachurch that “refused” to open its doors to the flood victims.

How many of you that criticized others have ever opened your church doors to strangers in need of overnight shelter? How many of you have opened your church to the homeless during a major snowstorm, or has offered shelter to a family who recently had their house burn down and has nowhere to go? What about your Ruritan Club, local restaurant, or whatever organization you are a member of?

This year, the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk will have its fifth year of the Night Stay Program, a winter shelter for Suffolk’s homeless population. Since the first year, the number of guests has doubled.

At present, there are only enough Suffolk churches committed to hosting Night Stay for 15 weeks out of the year, and there are more than 400 Internet listings for churches in Suffolk.

A lot of people may think that homelessness isn’t the same as a flooding or hurricane situation, but it often is. While there may not have been a natural disaster, for many individuals, a crisis can be something as simple as a flat tire, missing work due to an illness when they are living paycheck to paycheck, or the loss of a job.

Something this simple can be a crisis to many. They get behind on their bills, and then they can’t catch up. Many times, they find themselves suddenly without a place to live. This is the reality.

More often than not, these are good, hard-working people who cannot make ends meet and have no one to turn to. This is a very real crisis, and it is up to us to help.

On Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., there will be an open house at Suffolk Christian Church, 216 N. Main St. in downtown Suffolk, regarding the CAPS Night Stay Program. Please come learn about our program and how your church or organization can be involved.

We will have displays set up and have participating church members there to answer questions. Feel free to drop by at any time and have some refreshments with us. For more information, call me at 286-9126 or email nightstay@capsuffolk.org.

Cheryl Griffin

Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk