Local Minister Begins Life On The Streets

November 22, 2010 Updated Nov 23, 2010 at 8:24 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

November 22, 2010 Updated Nov 23, 2010 at 8:24 AM EDT

Rev. Eric Johns and supporters from The Buffalo Dream Center will spend five days living on the streets of Buffalo. It is an effort to bring attention to the plight of the poor and homeless. This is the twelfth year for the event. Pastor Johns hopes to bring encouragement to the needy as well as help raise donations for the Boxes of Love Christmas Campaign.

Boxes of Love will provide food and Christmas gifts for three-thousand inner city families. Twelve years ago, Rev. Johns and his wife delivered food and gifts to just five families. Now his annual charity effort has become one of the largest Buffalo holiday events for needy families.

This week, Pastor Johns and his group will spend their days meeting with needy individuals, eating in soup kitchens, and sleeping outside. As in years past, they will sleep with homeless people under the Route 33 bridge which crosses Michigan Avenue.

Buffalo is the third poorest city in the nation. 29.9% of Buffalo residents live below poverty.

The Boxes of Love Christmas Campaign needs the following items:

- Money to purchase food and toys.
- Turkeys, chickens, and hams
- New unwrapped toys for ages 17 and under ($7 or + value)
- Batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9-Volt)
- Wrapping Paper
- Tape
- Plastic and paper grocery bags
- Christmas Cookies
- Non-perishable food items such as stuffing, cranberry sauce, and canned vegetables.
- Box trucks for moving food and gifts
- Volunteers to wrap gifts and pack food