As the days grow shorter and the nights longer and colder, Durango’s homeless population struggles to stay warm.
A report conducted by the National Alliance to End Homelessness found more than 500,000 people in America were homeless in 2015.
Empathetic to their situation, Crystal Abernathy, a parishioner at Pine Valley Church in Bayfield, is reaching out to homeless individuals through care packages.
“Even though our days have been beautiful, our nights have been cold,” she said. “We are coming together to spread the love.”
Abernathy also runs the food pantry at the church, but said it “weighed on her heart” to do more.
Realizing many homeless people in Durango cannot get to Bayfield, Abernathy organized for care packages to be distributed in Durango on the second Saturday of every month.
On Saturday morning in Schneider Park, Abernathy and her fellow parishioners handed out canned food, snacks, toiletries and coats to those in need.
“We fill up bags, but there are also extra items like shampoos and toilet paper that they can take if they need it,” she said. “We call them over as they are coming from Manna.”
Many of the coats and women’s blouses are donated new, but the church often purchases the food items.
Parishioner Brandy Luzietti said Abernathy has a “heart for making people fed and warm.”
“She is very humble, but this whole thing was her idea,” she said. “When she realized not everyone could get to Bayfield, she wanted to bring things to them.”
Abernathy said her group is stationed in the park until all of the items are gone, and every month, they try and bring more.
“We try to make it bigger and better every time,” she said.