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With Sudbury church closed, volunteers use the space to shelter, feed the homeless
An afternoon homeless shelter is now being offered at Grace Family Church in Sudbury, which shut down in March because of COVID-19.
SUDBURY -- An afternoon homeless shelter is now being offered at a local church in Sudbury.
Bob Johnston says he got the idea for 'Shelter of the Storm' after seeing dozens of people on the streets with nowhere to go during cold and wet days. So he reached out to Bob Deppisch, pastor of Grace Family Church, about opening an afternoon shelter.
"I just felt sorry and I could picture myself standing out in the rain for even 10 minutes -- and that would be 10 minutes too long for me," Johnston said. "We discussed it and here we are today … What we do is rent movies, offer coffee, snacks."
Johnston says those who are in need of a shelter can attend the church, located on Burton Street in the Donovan, from noon till 5 p.m. on cold or rainy days.
Grace Family Church has been closed since March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deppisch says when Johnston reached out, it was an easy decision.
"Obviously, you can see the space down here -- it's huge," he said. "We got a lot of space that is not being used so it's nice to be able to help the vulnerable and use the space instead of having it empty."
In addition to offering shelter five hours each day, Johnston and Deppisch are giving those in need some healthy food.
"There was nobody offering breakfast to the homeless, so we decided to offer it from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday to Friday," Johnston said. "The client can come in and grab their breakfast and leave. It's usually fruit, granola bar or a muffin with a bowl of cereal and a milk."
Volunteers like Guy Langlois prepare the breakfasts for those in need each morning.
"We are given the opportunity to be able to serve the people that come here," Langlois said. "It's just amazing to be able to give back to the community, especially in the times we are in right now."
Johnston says he will continue the service until as long as it's needed. Organizers say money and food donations are welcome.