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Pastor marks 23rd year of spending Thanksgiving with homeless

Pastor marks 23rd year of spending Thanksgiving with homeless

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Pastor Eric Johns

Pastor Eric Johns speaks to the media before he and other members of his family take to the streets to live with the homeless from the Buffalo Dream Center in Buffalo Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. 

Eric Johns, pastor of the Buffalo Dream Center, a church on Lafayette Avenue, will spend his Thanksgiving week with Buffalo's homeless for the 23rd consecutive year.

Johns will start his week in front of the Dream Center at 11 a.m. Monday, and will sleep five nights under a bridge along Interstate 190, according to his daughter, Victoria Shurr, the Dream Center's building manager.

"He spends his days walking and eating in soup kitchens," Shurr said. Johns will try to raise funds for his church's annual Boxes of Love Christmas campaign, with a goal of providing food boxes to more than 3,000 needy families.

Shurr said her father prayed 23 years ago about how to help the homeless.

"He felt like he was told to live with the homeless and minister to them," Shurr said. "Now it's like a tradition to him and the men and women on the street."

Johns' sons, Alexander, 18, and Nathaniel, 17, will join him, providing socks and toiletries to the homeless.

Pastor Eric Johns talks about his annual week of living on the streets to help the homeless.

The Buffalo News: Good Morning, Buffalo

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Pastor Eric Johns and volunteers from the Buffalo Dream Center continued their effort to distribute boxes of food and toys to 3,000 needy families this month with a giveaway Saturday at the Belle Center, at Maryland Street and Busti Avenue. Michelle Johns, the pastor’s wife, said about 250 families pre-registered for boxes at the Belle Center, and about 50 more

  • Updated

Once a year, the Rev. Eric Johns spends a week sleeping outside and eating in soup kitchens. For Johns, pastor of the Buffalo Dream Center, it’s part of an effort at shining a light on life for the homeless and encouraging contributions to Boxes of Love, a charitable campaign that feeds 3,000 families during the holiday and provides gifts

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