Carbon Churches Involved in Extending Helping Hand to Homeless, Unsheltered

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

As temperatures plummet, volunteers are gathering supplies to once again open the doors to those facing freezing conditions.

“Operation Cold Front” is made up of a group of volunteers from various entities, including the St. Vincent de Paul Society of SS. Peter and Paul, Lehighton, and St. Joseph, Jim Thorpe.

Others include: Lighthouse Baptist Church, Lehighton Bible Church, People’s EC Church, Bethany EC Church (Lehighton), and Trinity Lutheran Church (Lehighton).

Their goal is to extend a lifeline to the homeless and unsheltered in the area by providing emergency shelter during frigid conditions.

Esther Meier is the president of SS. Peter and Paul’s Vincent de Paul Society. Last month, it was her group who started coordinating the emergency shelter efforts after one of their members encountered a woman living out of her car. With a cold front on the way, the group decided to find a way to keep those less fortunate safe during severe weather events.

“So, we just went to work,” she said. “We started calling around different churches. I called the borough to see if we could use the rec center, and St. Peter Community Resource Center said, ‘Sure!’”

In January, the group sheltered and fed 26 people during a nine-day period at St. Peter Community Resource Center, 177 Main Road, Lehighton.

SS. Vincent de Paul member Nancy Berchtold was one of the volunteers on hand. Although she was apprehensive about the experience, she’s grateful she put her reservations aside.

“Looking them in the eyes and realizing that, some of us may have had anxiety, the folks that we are serving, some of them are depressed. Some of them have mental health issues. Some have substance abuse issues,” she said.

“It was like meeting a stranger and yet realizing that they were our brothers and sisters in Christ. You just can’t ignore it when you're looking in someone’s eyes.”

Meier said there's profound joy and fulfillment in helping others. ‘It was really so rewarding. It was a wonderful experience. We got to know them as people. They were so appreciative. It just makes you feel good to be able to help people and to know you’re reaching out and being Christ to them.”

Although people in the community know where the homeless population gathers, they are discouraged from approaching them directly. Instead, those wanting to help are encouraged to contact “Operation Cold Front” via their Facebook page ( to get involved.


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