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Elkhart church opens doors for homeless

Elkhart, Ind. --  Thursday marks the shortest and darkest day of the year.  And some people in Elkhart are now thankful for a warm, safe place to sleep at night, throughout the entire winter. 

"For those who are looking for a safe shelter, especially in the coldest part of the year, I'm glad we can provide that for them," explains Pastor Izzy Harbin. 

She noticed people were sleeping outside the First Congregational Church.

So, she opened their doors. Literally. 

"It's amazing we can all come together with this singular vision and say all people matter," adds Pastor Harbin. "Whatever we can do to make their lives just a little bit better."

The second floor of the church will soon hold 16 people. 

Men and women will have separate rooms.

Some, like Robert Sanders, have already moved in. 

"I like it. You get out of the cold. That's the main thing," he says. "It's a great idea. You can't do too much for anybody. Anybody deserves a chance."

A chance that was gifted by a generous community. 

Mattresses and furniture has been brought in by other congregations and neighbors. 

"I'm ecstatic. I can't believe the generosity. We posted on social media and people responded with such generosity," says Pastor Harbin. "We got towels, washcloths, and blankets. It's amazing what people have been willing to part with."

She says, it represents the true meaning of Christmas.

"I'm not sure if I can describe how that feels," says Pastor Harbin. "People who have absolutely nothing. They come here literally with the clothes on their back. So, it's indescribable."

"It's a good place to come, it really is," adds Sanders. "This is about the best place you can come to."

And with a mutual love and gratitude for one another. 

"From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much," says Sanders.

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