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Pastor begins annual odyssey, sharing life on the streets with the homeless

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Are you warm right now? Do you have your very own home or apartment to lay your head tonight? Is your refrigerator well-stocked with holiday delicacies?

For many,  the holiday season is a joyous time to share meals and exchange gifts. For the homeless, the holidays can be a particularly painful time.

For the past 15 years, Rev. Eric Johns has spent seven days and seven nights as a homeless man. His holiday ritual aims  to raise awareness of the conditions of Western New York's homeless population.

On Monday, the pastor, his wife Michelle and their children slept on the porch of his church to start the week.

Throughout his journey, the pastor of the Buffalo Dream Center will sleep in shelters and only eat at soup kitchens or places in which free meals are served so that he may re-experience what it is like to be homeless for the holidays.

What impact does this odyssey have on Johns?

“I take away a sense of thankfulness for what I have. I actually some nights will listen to the wind blowing outside and wake up and Thank God I have a bed, that I have heat in my house, and that I have a family who loves me.”

Johns' wife will also be spend an additional day outside. Wednesday through Thanksgiving morning she and her women’s ministry will take to the streets in efforts to experience homelessness as a woman.

Pastor John also has a ministry called “Boxes of Love” in which he collects Christmas toys for 3,000 families that include 5,000 children.

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