BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (WCCO) – A local organization is partnering with area churches to make sure people with no place to live have a good Christmas.

Families Moving Forward matches homeless families with churches willing to open their doors to give them a safe place to eat and sleep. It’s a gesture of goodwill during this season of giving.

Long waiting lists at area homeless shelters present a problem to many families during the holidays.

Ken Kruse, his wife Staci, daughter Kiersten and other members of Discover Church in Brooklyn Park are preparing to transform their building into a place that eight homeless families will call home for a week.

“We have a crew of people that come in that are dedicated to doing the setup. And they try and make it look like as much as a hotel room, if you will, and make it as nice as they possibly can make it,” Ken said.

Portico and Families Moving Forward has a waiting list for families in need of housing. Discover Church offers them a private sanctuary.

Staci Kruse says the church becomes a place where families can have a merry Christmas.

“We’re going to set up two rooms – so we’re going to have a room for the mom and dads, and then a room for the kids,” Staci said.

Parents will shop for their children, and the kids will also have a place to get gifts for their parents.

“They are going through a really hard time and we’re trying to, like, help them have a really good holiday,” Kiersten said.

A safe place to sleep, good food and a warm welcome is what these volunteers will provide. Sixteen to 18 homeless kids and their families will live here during the week of Christmas.

Pastor Carl Billings hopes their stories remind us all of another homeless family.

“The Christmas story is about a young family that’s homeless, you know. And there wasn’t any place for them to stay,” Billings said.

Pastor Billings says it’s part of what their faith is all about, and the real reason behind this season of hope, faith and goodwill.

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