Churches in the Fort Walton Beach, FL area offer shelter for the homeless when temperatures drop. The NorthWest Florida Daily News writes that this time around, they’re hoping more congregations will lend a hand.
“We definitely need more,” said Lenore Wilson, a local homeless advocate who participates in the program. “What we really need is 14 churches!”
The current group of shelter providers are: First Presbyterian of Fort Walton Beach, St. Simon’s on the Sound Episcopal Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church of Fort Walton Beach, Gregg Chapel, Mary Esther United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Fort Walton Beach and Hollywood Boulevard Baptist Church.
“The churches are all we have,” says Wilson. The area has no permanent homeless shelter.
That became clear to Shaun Ellis, youth minister at First Baptist, when the congregation offered its building as a shelter.
“It’s been a blessing to us,” Ellis said. “The meal’s easy to do, and we have people donate blankets.”
Ellis said the shelter program has softened his view of the homeless.
“A good number of these people are just looking for some help because they’re in a bad situation,” he said, adding that serving the homeless is the duty of churches. “In my understanding of Scripture, that’s a mandate we’ve been given. If churches are not involved in that we’re missing the call.”
Read it all here.