One church is making it easy for the area's residents to have the adequate clothing needed to make it through the bitter cold this winter.
True Bethel Baptist Church, a church in Buffalo, New York, converted a school bus into a mobile clothing pantry, dubbed "Shepherd's Closet." The bus drives through the city, bringing winter wear to those who need it most, the Buffalo News reported. It was rolled out for the first time last Tuesday.
According to the outlet, members of the church and people in the community contributed clothes, including coats, hats, gloves and boots, to Shepherd's Closet. The church's pastor, the Rev. Darius Pridgen, told WBIV that the bus drives through different areas, including some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
Pridgen said that with temperatures dipping down, church members needed to take action.
“Our clothing bus is not even complete on the inside,” he told WBIV before the bus was rolled out for the first time on Tuesday. “We have the outside done, but we decided last night that it is just so cold out that we needed to go out to the streets.”
Five volunteers helped about 60 people -- both kids and adults -- in an hour. On the road, the volunteers were surprised by what they saw.
"We were amazed at how many children especially were not properly dressed for the weather,” Pridgen told the Buffalo News
The church aims to give away $200,000 worth of clothing this year.
When summer arrives, the bus will continue to function as a closet but will be parked near the church's "Bread of Heaven" food truck, effectively creating a one-stop shop where people in need can get a bite to eat and clothes to wear.
The effort requires hard work and planning but volunteers said it's a pleasure to give back.
“It’s very needed. I love doing it because I know what it feels like to be in need,” Cambridge Boyd, a church elder, told the Buffalo News. “So to be able to help, to be able to give back and help somebody else out, by giving not a hand out but a hand up, it’s an awesome feeling.”
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