NORTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC)—An ABC 8 News viewer contacted us Tuesday night asking if there was a homeless shelter in Chesterfield County during this week's "polar vortex." We started making calls, and as a result, a local pastor jumped into action.
"Rather than praying, asking God to do it, if we had the ability to do it, we felt like we should," said John Sawyer, a pastor at Bon Air Baptist Church.
On Tuesday night, Pastor Sawyer went around town with fellow church members and a truckload full of blankets, water, snacks and hot coffee.
"We're just a bunch of regular guys that care about this community," he said.
Pastor Sawyer decided Tuesday afternoon to help the homeless in North Chesterfield, after ABC 8 News contacted him with a simple question.
"I got a phone call from one of the people at channel 8 asking me if I knew of a place where people who are homeless in Chesterfield County could go to get warm," he said.
Pastor Sawyer wasn't aware of a shelter in the area, but knowing how brutal Tuesday night's below-freezing temperatures would be for those who live outside, he and his friends stopped by a homeless camp tucked away in the woods behind a business park.
It didn't take them long to find Dennis Matthews, a homeless man.
"God bless ‘em, you know … to come back in the woods," Matthews said. "They got more courage than I do."
Matthews says he's humbled these men stopped by. They say it's the least they could do.
"This is a golden opportunity to actually put our words into action," said Tom Patch, a Bon Air Baptist Church member.
Now, they'll all sleep a little better—and warmer, too.
"Just let ‘em know that we care about ‘em and we love ‘em," Pastor Sawyer said. "They're our neighbors."
When asked if he was grateful for the assistance of Pastor Sawyer and his fellow church members, Matthews said, "Man, you know it. They are some of the best people I've ever met."
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