Why This Pastor Sleeps on the Streets Every Year for Thanksgiving

A New York pastor is sleeping on the streets this week—just as he has done every Thanksgiving week for the last 21 years.

Buffalo Dream Center Pastor Eric Johns, affectionately known as “the Homeless Pastor,” takes this time to live with the homeless, no matter what the weather is like. He usually spends the night under an overpass and eats his meals at soup kitchens, reports Spectrum News.

Johns says he does this each year to raise awareness about the marginalized homeless community. But he also does it as a way of gathering donations for his church’s Boxes of Love program, through which the church gives food and Christmas presents to thousands of families and kids.

Johns’ two teenage sons joined him years ago to celebrate the benevolence of God’s kingdom.

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“When I started this 21 years ago, my sons weren’t even born, but now they’re 15 and 16,” Johns tells Spectrum News. “They want to take this over for me, which I’m happy to give to them after 21 years. We’re going to wait a couple more years. But this year, they’re going to spend the night with me every single day. And for at least a couple days, we’re going to have three generations here. My father’s also out with us. So that’s pretty special.”

Johns posted a photo of him and his sons getting ready for their night on the streets, saying, “Three generations living on the streets with Buffalo’s homeless.”

Johns and his wife, Michelle, have been pastors of Buffalo Dream Center since 1993, according to the church’s website. The Johnses have become known for their work ministering to the inner-city, orphans and unreached people groups.

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