Many of the homeless have no place to call home, no food to eat and nobodies shoulder to cry on, but The First Assembly of God Church on Bay Avenue in Toms River is continuing to offer those services in 2017.

The church serves as a warming center and resource center where friendships can be built, and Pastor Paul Gifford explains that there are a number of ways they hope to meet the needs of this community.

"The most important thing we can do is come around established organizations that are making a conservative effort at establishing hope back into the life of a human being," said Gifford.

He adds that they're currently working with the non-profit organization 'Haven Beat the Streets' with whom they've learned the full outlook of all the work that still needs to be done in helping those less fortunate.

Many of the homeless come from all over looking for a chance to re-shape their future, and Gifford explains that these individuals are also welcome inside their warming center which is open the 2nd and 4th Thursday and Friday's through March but there's more they offer.

"Clinical counselors will be on site to help generate an in depth analysis of where they are and how they've fallen on hard times," said Gifford.

Gifford explains that his team will also ask them basic vetting questions to find out a lot of those similar focal points.

"We'll have testing things on site to test for alcohol and drugs just to make sure people are sober," said Gifford.

Following a basic preliminary vetting process, he adds, they'll continue working to provide services to those who really need them.

"Homelessness really has been an ongoing problem for a long time," said Gifford.

He adds that while their door is open to the homeless to warm up during the chills of winter, another door is opening up for anyone in the community looking to volunteer hours in their food kitchen.

"There's plenty of room to help serve your community in that effort," said Gifford. "You can help serve at the food pantry when it's open on the third Friday and Saturday of the month."

They're also looking for volunteers in their thrift shop.

Contact Reporter Vin Ebenau at 848-221-8100 or at

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