South Side church opens its doors to homeless during dangerously cold temps

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CHICAGO — A church on the South Side had opened its doors to the city’s homeless population as temperatures begin to drop.

Rev. Kenyatta Smith open the doors of Another Chance Church, 9550 S. Harvard Ave., to those experiencing homelessness to provide hot chocolate, food and a place to stay and feel safe as the area experiences record cold.

The reverend said as he and his wife watched the forecast a few days ago, they felt like they had to do something to help.

They put out word among friends who responded with food, drinks and cots.

For a variety of reasons, some people are hard pressed to ask for help to come in out of the cold. Some fear they will be subjected to high intensity religious recruitment, but the pastor believes in a different approach.

“Jesus met people right where they are. I’m not trying to shove the gospel down their throat. I’m trying to be the gospel, and be the example,” he said. “I believe people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. This is the perfect environment for me to have a conversation.”

The church is still in need of pillows and blankets. Anyone who wants to make a donation can visit the church. Their doors will stay open for the next 48 hours.

FULL LIST: Cook County warming centers

Last year, more than 5,400 people in Chicago were living on the streets or in shelters. However, advocates say the number is much higher, with not enough help for the mentally ill for for anyone living out on the streets.

Anyone in need of assistance should call the city’s 311 system.

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