Clarence Horst warned attendees of the service about judging people.
Whether you’re “hanging on to a pole” or wearing a $1,000 coat, everyone needs to realize “we’re all the children of God,” Horst said Thursday at the annual service to mark another season for the REACH Cold Weather Shelter on Franklin Street.
Horst, vice president of the board of directors at the shelter, said it’s important not to judge people because anyone can suddenly find themselves in life-changing circumstances.
Horst called for transparency that will allow everyone to see that “we’re all in this human condition moving forward.”
About 25 people attended the service that included songs and words of inspiration. Attendees were invited to step up to a microphone to talk about their experience with the shelter.
The shelter, which has been in operation for 17 years, opened the last Sunday in October and will operate until the last Sunday in March.
The shelter can hold a maximum of 56 people and 37 to 40 people a night have been staying there recently, said administrator Nancy Derrick.
After the service, REACH executive director Jodie Ostoich said she will be focusing this year on helping people rise up from the condition they are in.
Ostoich said the shelter has special resources devoted to case workers who can work with people who are ready to make changes in their lives.
The shelter offers a warm meal every night and a cold breakfast in the morning, said Derrick.
All people in the shelter must be out of the facility for the day by 7 a.m., Derrick said.