Buffalo church shelters neighbors affected by winter storm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (NewsNation) — Millions of Americans were left stranded and without power during this past weekend’s fierce winter storm and bitter cold. One of the hardest hit areas was Buffalo, New York, where at least 37 people died in the blizzard and residents are still recovering.

During the worst of it, one pastor didn’t hesitate to answer the call to help others.

Pastor Al Robinson of the Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry — and a member of the New York State Chaplain Task Force — joined Morning in America to share how he helped those who were hit hardest by the winter storm.

Robinson said it was almost immediately after the storm started that he began receiving reports from people that needed help.

He explained that his wife and he still had power at their church, and they were both curious as to why they had power and others didn’t.

“I’ll never forget asking my wife, ‘Why do you suppose God gave us power, and didn’t give other people power? I mean, why did he choose us?'” Robinson said. “And then five hours later, I discovered exactly why our church still had power.”

Robinson said it was so that his wife and he could help other people who were affected by the storm.

“(God) said, ‘Get to work and get to work quickly,'” Robinson said.

When one family of eight came to the church looking for help, their clothes were frozen to their skin. It was devastating to see, he said. The weather was so severe that a person could not see their own arm if they stuck it out in front of them.

While a terrible situation, Robinson gave praise and credit to his wife for assembling a team to triage the arriving people, calling her magnificent.

The team used iPhones and location-tracking applications to find people and their direct locations. Robinson said that he made contact with William Kless, who was their point guy for rescue operations with the snowmobiles.

“(Kless) was able to go out and get everybody that texted us or hit us up on Facebook Messenger,” Robinson said.

Robinson, his wife and his team sheltered 128 people initially and hosted 154 people on Christmas day.

“But 128 lives were certainly saved,” Robinson said.

Watch Pastor Al Robinson’s full interview in the video player above.


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