Night Stay making a difference

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

This Wednesday is the coldest day yet this season. It snowed on Tuesday as a cold front moved in, and snow was predicted again overnight. The National Weather Service office in Wakefield on Tuesday night was predicting the high would struggle to reach 40 this midweek day — a bitterly cold day, and somewhat surprising so early in the season.

While most of us are keeping warm in our homes and offices, compassionate hearts and minds turn toward those who have little to no shelter to seek respite from the cold. They are the homeless in our community — those who are sleeping in their cars, in tents, wherever they can find natural shelter, or perhaps unable to find any shelter at all.

As God — not luck — would have it, the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk’s Night Stay Program was already set to begin this Wednesday evening. The need for the program is already there, though. People have been looking for a place to get out of the cold for some time now.

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The backgrounds of those who need help shouldn’t matter, but they’re not what people think. The stereotypes just aren’t true. The homeless among us usually are educated and have jobs. They include women, children, veterans and the elderly. Many of them were just one disaster away from losing their home, and then it happened. They had an unexpected medical bill, a high utility bill, or they lost a source of income through no fault of their own — and then they were out on the street.

Suffolk’s churches and other organizations are banding together to help. This Night Stay program has been described as life-changing for the individuals and churches who get involved. Churches volunteer to use their facilities to house individuals in need for a night and provide them with meals. Much of the other needs of the program are provided by CAPS — all a church needs, really, is a willing heart.

To find out more about the program or to make a donation, visit