On a weekend in New York City when temperatures dipped well below freezing, members of Dwell joined several other Manhattan churches in the fifth annual Don’t Walk By event. Dwell is a Christian Reformed church plant.
Hundreds of volunteers took to the streets to offer people without homes food, clothing, blankets, and an opportunity to get off the streets.
Members of Dwell CRC in New York City participate in Don’t Walk By.
“We covered every block in Manhattan from 22nd Street south,” said Pete Armstrong, the pastor at Dwell. That’s about three miles.
Janay Combos, one of the volunteers that went with Armstrong, said that many people they encountered refused help. “Even at nightfall, when temperatures were well below freezing,” Combos lamented, few people wanted the services the volunteers were offering.
Still, the group Armstrong led made contact with some people and offered them supplies. They also offered the opportunity to go to Overseas Chinese Mission Church, the hosting church for the downtown region of the city, where people would receive a hot meal, a place to sleep, and a chance to see doctors and social workers the next morning.
Don’t Walk By seeks not only to meet the physical needs of people who are homeless but also to transform their lives so they can get off the streets. Therefore much prayer occurred before, during, and after the event. “We prayed for the communities we were walking through,” said Armstrong. “We prayed that many people would come in from the cold and begin a journey with Jesus.”
Don’t Walk By takes place every weekend in February this year to make sure each block in Manhattan is covered.
About the Author
Callie Feyen is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Mich. She attends First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor. Callie writes news for The Banner and contributes to Coffee+Crumbs, and T.S. Poetry Press. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of The Teacher Diaries: Romeo and Juliet, and Twirl: My Life in Stories, Writing, & Clothes.