ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - - There are more than 200 displaced people in Winnebago and Boone Counties according to SecondFirst Church and the Overnight Café is one place they can stay.
"We recognized pretty early on that there are people who just didn't have a place to go at night,” said Reverend Rebecca White Newgren of SecondFirst Church. “They were trying to be warm, whether in a parking garage or under a bridge or somewhere. They were doing the best they could but really they needed to come and be inside. So, this is a place where they can come and call home."
"This is a place where you can come there are no sermons, there are no preaching, we show God's love in our actions,” said Pastor Becky Erbe.
"It's set up like a café so people can come in, have a cup of coffee, maybe a warm cup of soup and warm up a little bit. They can take a shower and are provided clean socks and underwear each day,” said Rev. Newgren.
Last year SecondFirst Church launched a pilot program of the café in the gym. They kept unhoused people safe during a few sub-zero nights. This year they opened January 6th and will host guest every night until March15th, from 9pm to 7am.
The café welcomes most pets. It also invites organizations to come and help people get back on their feet.