Volunteers Step Up to Save Shelter

SCRANTON -- As sub-freezing temperatures are expected to continue throughout most of this week, so will the need for an overnight homeless shelter in Scranton that was going to remain closed this winter.

But an influx of volunteers helped turn things around this week.

Pastor Darian Banks of Bethel A.M.E. Church on North Washington Avenue in Scranton considers everything that's transpired in the past week a prayer answered.

"It came out pretty well. The Lord, he's amazing in how he does things, awesome, awesome," Pastor Banks said.

Pastor Banks showed Newswatch 16 around the homeless shelter in the basement of the church. Less than a week ago, he wasn't sure it would open for the winter season because of a lack of volunteers.

But that all changed.

Once the volunteer problem was publicized, people stepped up. Volunteer and church member Tiffany Pauline told Newswatch 16 the church has enough help now to staff the shelter for the next month.

"It shows the people that are out there struggling that somebody cares, you know? That it was hard getting it open but we're still here. We still care," Pauline said.

Going forward, Bethel A.M.E. expects to only open the overnight shelter on an emergency basis when the temperature dips below 25 degrees.

Pastor Banks hopes other churches see the need and decide to step up. Bethel's is one of only two overnight shelters in Scranton.

"I mean, out of 137 churches in Scranton, and only one is stepping up to the plate? I mean, we do have other churches that support us monetarily and with manpower," he said.

For now, Bethel A.M.E. has the manpower it needs to get through this cold snap.

1 Comment

  • Mrs. T

    You are right. 137 churches in Scranton and only 1 opens up. But go visit those churches on a Sunday and thier extravagant and glitzy decor and collection baskets will be out. SMH…. God bless you BethelšŸ™

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