CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Families in Charlottesville are preparing care packages to hand out to people who live on the streets during these cold winter months.Those families hope the care packages warm the hearts of homeless people in Charlottesville while they’re seeking warm shelter through the PACEM program.
“We want to make sure that the guests know that we welcome them here and that we really care about them, we want them to be here with us,” Will Brown, associate minister, said.
Each year more than 80 faith congregations and community groups in Charlottesville open their doors for people in need. PACEM is a grassroots group that coordinates space and volunteers to provide shelter for the homeless.
“When it’s raining, when it’s sleeting, when it’s below freezing outside there are people in our community who have nowhere to go and we’re here for them and it’s all a community effort,” Dawn Grzegorczyk of PACEM said.
As many as 60 homeless people will stay inside a room at University Baptist Church for two weeks this winter. That’s when they’ll receive their special care packages, meals and hot showers.
“When they come into a shelter at night and they’ve spent the entire day outside and they’re looking for time to rest and they get a sweet card from a child wishing them well, that means a lot,” Grzegorczyk said.
Organizers and parents say they wanted to create a more family-friendly volunteering event that lets them lead by example.
“It’s great to have our values not just talked about at home but also seen in practice,” Catherine Gray, C-Village organizer, said.
“Being able to talk to them about how we’re helping and ways we can actually take care of people in our community and then show them how to do that is really special it feels wonderful,” parent Sarah Wilson said.
If you would like more information on how to get involved, you can call University Baptist Church or donate to PACEM.