When heavy snow closed a major Ontario highway in January, motorists were diverted into Strathroy, Ontario, where local inns quickly filled up. The overflow crowd—48 people, two dogs, and one bunny—were accommodated at East Strathroy Christian Reformed Church.
Rev. Andrew de Gelder received a call from the local Salvation Army. “The [provincial police] were looking for a facility to serve as an emergency shelter for dozens of travelers who were stranded,” he said.
Church members brought pillows and blankets. Coffee and food were served in the gym and weary travelers, many of whom had slid off the road in their cars or been in accidents, were able to join in the unplanned sleepover in church classrooms and nursery rooms.
By 10:00 the next morning, the motorists were on their way. “We have gotten some thank-you cards and e-mails,” said church administrator Wilma Zondag. “They all were very appreciative.”
“It was a night to remember and a wonderful opportunity to help strangers in Christ’s name,” said de Gelder.