By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
‘Happy are they … who give justice to those who are oppressed, food to those who are hungry, and shelter to those in need,” said Rev. Cynthia Walton Leavitt, pastor of the United Presbyterian “Red Door” Church.
The pastor was speaking Monday, March 8, as a member of the Caring for the Homeless Population Collaboration, founded in 2018 under the auspices of Fox Hospital, on the initiative of Dr. Reg Knight, who chaired Fox’s Ethics Committee.
Pastor Leavitt was leading the Blessing Service where Knight’s goal was reached: Oneonta’s one-of-a-kind Community Warming Station opened at 5 p.m. at 189 Chestnut St.
The first client showed up at 9:15 p.m.
Beginning Monday, and continuing through Sunday, April 11, the Warming Station will be open seven days a week. The first occupant showed up at 9:15 Monday evening, when temperatures would drop overnight to 21 degrees. (The night before the station opened, it dropped to 1.)
“We’re so blessed to have this open,” the pastor said.
Walton Leavitt has been involved since the beginning (and is also involved in the Hunger Coalition of Otsego County), driven by what she sees as a continuing need, evident in “an occasional knock on (her) door.”
Usually, it happens after Catholic Charities or other human service agencies are closed for the day or weekend, she said.