Buffalo pastors rescued more than 100 people and housed them in his church during historic blizzard

Buffalo pastors rescued more than 100 people and housed them in his church during historic blizzard


Al and Vivian Robinson added more than 100 people to their family in the past few days — all thanks to the couple’s kindness in the face of a deadly storm.

The couple, both pastors at Spirit of Truth Urban Ministries in Buffalo, New York, rescued and sheltered a total of 154 people in recent days as a historic storm hit the city, leaving thousands without power, others trapped in homes or their cars. and left Erie County with a death toll of 39.

“We just jumped into action and managed to get up to 154 people into the church so they didn’t freeze to death,” Al Robinson told CNN on Thursday. “I wish I could say that for everyone.”

Rescue efforts began Friday, Robinson said, when an alarming amount of snow began to pile up in the city. Robinson and his wife realized their church was the only nearby building with power.

He said he began calling neighbors, checking on their well-being and inviting them to stay at his church.

Vivian Robinson then posted a simple message on Facebook: “If you’re stuck in the joy zone of love, our church doors are open to you.” Her post also included the church’s phone number and address.

From that point, Al Robinson said people who were stranded on a nearby road began streaming into the church.

“It started with 10 people, two big families, and then it went to 30, then it went to 60, then it went to 90, then it went to 100, 120, 128 was the last time I counted, but it went up to 154,” he said. he. “We had people sleeping everywhere in our church, but we were the only ones with electricity.”

Vivian Robinson continued to post on Facebook to find out. Videos that served as makeshift viewer magazines and photo galleries showed both the blizzard’s devastation and the warmth of a community coming together in a time of need.

Al Robinson also pointed out that of the 154 people who took refuge in his church, perhaps three were members of his congregation.

“Honestly, they were complete strangers. We had Asian people here, we had Hispanic people here, we had Arabic-speaking people here, we had Nigerians here,” Robinson said. “We had just about every possible minority in our church, and we were all coming together, we celebrated Christmas together.”

People began leaving the church Monday and Tuesday as Buffalo thawed from the storm, Robinson said.

“It’s actually great because I have this big family now that where we’re at, you know, the trauma is connected by the storm and it’s just, it’s just beautiful,” Robinson said. “These people are so full of love… It’s unbelievable.”

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