Thoughts of winter and CAPS

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

We’re nearing the end of another summer, and for many, thoughts are turning toward autumn leaves, pumpkins and turkeys and maybe even Christmas shopping, if you’re thinking that far ahead.

Most of us, even if we’re not looking forward to winter, look toward the approaching season with at least the knowledge that we’ll be warm in bed in our home each night.

But for a sizeable group of people in our community, winter means that sleeping outside is once again about to become unbearably cold, increasing the danger and discomfort that come from sleeping outside in general.

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The Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk is planning the seventh season of its Night Stay Winter Shelter Program, and it needs local churches and groups to participate.

Host churches and volunteers are needed for this program. The host church only needs to have the willingness, the space and a group of dedicated volunteers to provide meals and to sit quietly throughout the night so that guests feel safe.

Each church hosts for a week at a time, running from Wednesday to Tuesday. All items needed, even a shower trailer, are provided by CAPS. All the church needs to have is a large room or a few smaller rooms with at least two bathrooms close by, and towels and washcloths provided. Volunteers also are needed to sit with the guests and to provide dinner, breakfast and bagged lunches.

According to letter writer Cheryl Griffin, the administrator of the program, guests last year ranged in age from 1 month to 81 years. There were 26 children and 38 women among the 116 total guests served last year. There is a stereotype of homelessness, and — like many stereotypes — it’s inaccurate.

If your church or group is moved to show the love of Christ to the community, contact Griffin at or call 286-9126.