How many times have you walked past a person in need and wished you could help? Most of us think about it as we pass, then it slips our mind. Here is a chance to do what you can to help those in need!
Pastor Heather Boone and her husband Britton have devoted their lives to making sure that those that are suffering find comfort; those that feel unloved are loved; those that are hungry are fed; and most of all that they have a warm place to lay their head at night- no matter the circumstances they come from or that they are now faced with. She and her small congregation purchased a building for their church, which was previously used as a warming shelter. Now Oaks of Righteousness, Pastor Boone made the decision to continue operating the warming shelter and quickly realized that people needed much more than just a bed on a cold night. They needed a safe place where they would be treated with dignity, compassion and the love of Christ. After years of commuting for hours to do ministry, the Boones made the sacrifice of renting out their nice home and leaving their teenage daughter with friends to complete high school, while they relocated to live among those they serve. Although an extremely difficult decision, Pastor Boone and her husband have made a huge sacrifice and now live in a small office in the church right above the shelter. Their sacrifices didn't just stop with their home and family, but Britton selflessly took a pay cut so he could be more involved in the ministry and work closer to where they live.
As with most churches, it is not equipped for long-term occupancy, but this did not deter or discourage Pastor Boone or her husband, and without complaint they made the sacrifice. Britton showered at work and Pastor Boone showered at the local YMCA until recently when they were blessed with the installation of a shower that they must share with 30-40 homeless people. Although blessed with people donating their time, food, money and/or clothes, the financial burden is more than not assumed by Pastor Boone and Britton. The Boones often use their own money to feed, clothe, and care for anyone that comes to the shelter seeking a safe haven from the streets.
Because they have the heart to serve, no one is rejected, so they are often faced with overcrowding. Everyone sleeps in one room, the fellowship hall on the lower level of the church. 25 children woke up in the shelter on this past Christmas. On any given night, there can be up to fifty people sleeping in the one room. Unfortunately, due to limited space, there is no way to segregate the individuals, so there are women and children, men, singles, married, mentally ill, ex criminals and even those struggling with drug addiction all together in one room. Last winter 303 different people slept in the church.
Recently, Saint Josephs Church, a Catholic Church, on East Second Street in the next block from Oaks of Righteousness closed its doors as a church. The Archdiocese has put the church, and all its properties up for sale - this includes the church, a parsonage, a school, and a dining hall. Pastor Boone and her congregation have a vision that they can reopen this closed facility and use it as a, employment training center and one stop shop for community rebuilding and revitalization. And the current church can be transformed into a year round homeless shelter where men and women sleep on diffent floors and families have seperate rooms. For this “Miracle on Second Street” to be realized, the Oaks of Righteousness Church is in desperate need of funding to purchase this new property and to launch several initiatives that will bridge the gaps in this hurting community.