LONG BRANCH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A church in Monmouth County that serves a dual purpose is set to shut down before the new year.
The First Reformed Church on Broadway in Long Branch not only serves the community during Sunday worship; the protestant church is also a place for the homeless on the coldest nights.
“We’ve gone from 3-14. We can end up with 25 people,” said Beverly Kreuz, Code Blue homeless coordinator.
Kreuz is known as the angel of the streets, organizing supplies and volunteers on a wing and a prayer when the temperature drops to 25 degrees or lower, initiating a Code Blue.
Her challenge has grown as the church is set to close and go up for sale Dec. 31, leaving the most vulnerable out on the streets.
“The people that need it the most, we can’t turn our back on,” Kreuz told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Pastor Marisol Ferrer Malloy came to the church last year to attract new members and donations, but it hasn’t been enough.
“An entire congregation is there on Sunday mornings, so they would be affected. We have Bible studies and we have kids programs,” she said.
Losing the church would also be losing a piece of history. It was built in 1847 before Long Branch was even a city. Its visitors included President William McKinley. A stained-glass window is named in his honor.
Kreuz says she has built trust with the homeless, serving them a hot meal with a side of comfort.
“It’s going to take funding. It’s going to take a lot of funding,” she said.
“If there’s a miracle somewhere on Christmas Day or something,” Malloy said.
As a precaution, Kreuz is scouting new locations for the community center and reminds people it is not only during the holidays that the homeless need help; January and February are just as cold and lonely.
To volunteer for or donate goods to the Code Blue warming center at 650 Broadway, contact Kreuz by visiting her Facebook page titled “Angels of the Street” here: facebook.com/groups/2239035859681282