SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) -- Houses of worship across San Joaquin County will soon open up their doors to shelter the homeless. It'll be a year-round effort that churches and temples will band together to accomplish.
“Faith is everything. It’s your core,” Zion Lutheran Church congregant Tom Rasmussen said.
Soon, Rasmussen's religious home of 25 years will not only shelter neighbors spiritually but physically.
“That could be you standing there on the street someday, you never know,” Rasmussen said.
A joint effort between nearly 30 churches and temples of several denominations across the area will be donating food and support. Some of them will also be opening their doors.
It’s part of a program called “Family Promise” – now launching in San Joaquin County. Each house of worship commits to sheltering roughly four families for a week at a time, four times a year.
“Right now, there just empty classrooms,” Zion Lutheran Church Board Member John Grefe said. “God calls us to do what we can to help our neighbors.”
Grefe says he is most excited about the job training center opening as part of the program, which will serve every adult staying with them.
“Teaching people who have fallen on bad luck because their trade is no longer in demand,” Grefe said. “Showing them a new way to use those skills or develop new skills, so that they are gainfully employed is very important.”
An anonymous real estate developmental group is donating space for the job center in downtown Stockton. And they’ve also agreed to match any donations raised by these churches up to $20,000.
“People don’t see them as human anymore. They don’t see them as a precious tangible life,” Grefe said. “The overall impression is eventually going to be, ‘There’s a big community of people who care about me, that value me and see me as human’.”
If you would like to donate, you can visit their website here.
They are hoping to start sheltering people in the spring of 2020.