By Catherine Colmerauer, Orchard Park Bee
The Orchard Park Presbyterian Church (Orchard Park, N.Y.) got the phone call from Village Building Inspector Jeffrey Sweet early Tuesday afternoon. There were 20 motorists stranded off Route 219, and Sweet wanted to know if the church could accommodate them.
Since the church is a host site for Family Promise of Western New York, which shelters homeless families, the Rev. Richard Young was happy to oblige.
“I think the maximum for that program is 15, but we figured 20 people — we could do that no sweat,” Rev. Young said.
Yet people in need kept arriving.
“I think by 6 o’clock, we had over 100 people, and a big chunk of that was a tour bus that had originated in Toronto,” said Rev. Young. The international tour group consisted of Canadian citizens, as well as residents of Hong Kong, Pakistan and Brazil.
Fortunately, the church was stocked with food for Friends of Night People, which runs a soup kitchen in South Buffalo. The American Red Cross also donated provisions to the church, which became an emergency shelter in the course of the snowstorm.