Local pastor prepares to live among homeless week of Thanksgiving for 20th year

Local News
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A Buffalo pastor is getting ready to continue a mission he has been on for the last 20 years.
Pastor Eric Johns will live among the homeless this week and he’s encouraging others to give back.

“I’ll be prepared for any kind of weather, over the 20 years I’ve been doing this, November in western New York can be anything,” said Pastor Eric Johns of the Buffalo Dream Center.
From sleeping outside to eating at soup kitchens, Pastor Eric Johns says he’s learned a lot from living with the homeless during the week of Thanksgiving. It’s something he’s done every year, for the last two decades.
“A little tougher, 20 years later sleeping on the concrete under a bridge and walking. We walk probably about 10 miles a day,” said Johns.
The goal — to bring awareness to homelessness in western New York and kick off Buffalo Dream Center’s Boxes of Love campaign.
Pastor Johns says they hope to feed more than 3,000 families this year.
Starting Monday, he’ll hit the streets, but as he gets older, Pastor Johns hopes for someone else to continue what he started.
“If it’s not me, if it’s somebody else that just takes this week to shine the light on the need and put the call out there for people to help,” said Johns.
Like his two young sons — Nathan, who’s 14-years-old, and Alex, who’s 15-years-old.
“We all pray with people,” said Nathan Johns.
“All the homeless guys we know on a first name basis so I’m excited to see all of them,” said Alex Johns.
For the first time they’ll join their father and live with the homeless overnight.
“This year we get to spend the night, and I feel like that’s going to push me to be like oh, this will be really cool to take it over one year,” said Alex.
And they’ll have help. Both Johns son-in-laws will join him this week too.
“A lot of people don’t realize people can be working a full time job and still be homeless. They can be living in their car, they can be eating at soup kitchens and you never really know,” said Dezmond McClinton.
No matter who joins in on the mission, The message will remain the same.
“Just treating somebody with the love and respect that they deserve,” said McClinton.

Pastor Johns will start his journey Monday, November 19th.
To find out how you can donate or volunteer for Boxes of Love campaign click here.

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