READING, Pa. – Dozens of families and individuals filled a gathering hall at Washington Towers Apartments to seek temporary shelter from a societal storm of sickness and suffering.
One Reading man says he's 15 years clean but still struggling to find consistent shelter.
"People think that homeless people are just a bunch of bums," said Michael McFadden of Reading, "but just like you or me, it's the circumstances that we are in. Can we make something positive out of it? Can we do something about it? Yes."
Companions In Christ Ministries of Pennsylvania, along with the Reading chapter of the NAACP, the Jewish Federation of Reading and others volunteered their time to help families in need in the area.
"With COVID going on and we wanted to help the less fortunate because there's a lot of homeless on the street," said Chaplain James Civil. "Places that used to feed them are closed down."
It's more than just a hot meal on a cold night, as there are a number of unique elements to the event that help people in the community.
"Free clothes. We are doing pantries here. We are doing food," Civil said. "We are doing a lot of different activities We are doing haircuts. We are gonna have music playing."
The event meets a variety of needs to provide some comfort to those who are facing dropping temps and pandemic- and economic- related hardship.
"Me? You know, this is a blessing," McFadden said. "You got some non-perishable foods, which like me, who doesn't have a stove or a fridge."
The organizations involved have more outreach plans in the works for the weeks ahead.
"We see nowadays people that have lost hope," Civil said, "and we want to say there's still hope out there and there's still people who care."