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‘Something in my spirit was like, we need to open up the church:’ Buffalo pastors help save more than 100 people during blizzard

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – A Western New York couple is gaining recognition for saving around 150 people during last month’s blizzard. Al and Vivian Robinson were featured on the Jennifer Hudson show talking about their heroic actions to keep people warm and safe.

The Robinsons are pastors at the Spirit of Truth Urban Ministry in South Buffalo. During the blizzard, a lot of people in the neighborhood lost power, but the church didn’t.

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“Something in my spirit was like, you know what, we need to open up the church,” Vivian said. “So I told my husband, I said ‘honey we need to open up the church.’ He said, ‘let’s go for it.'”

Before long, the building on Gold Street was packed.

“As the night was going on these people was frostbitten. They were cold. They were crying. They thought they were going to die,” Vivian said.

“The people of Lovejoy, the people that are truckers, people from other places, we were afraid to see someone on the outside of that door frozen. So we were diligent about it,” Al said.

The Robinsons remained calm throughout the storm, feeding people, and offering them a place to sleep. On Christmas morning around 150 people were staying there.

“We had enough covers and blankets, and pillows,” Vivian said. “I went through every room in every building of this space, to make sure everyone had a blanket. Make sure they had a heating pad.

The couple says they couldn’t have done this without their faith.

“I credit the lord for all of this,” Al said. “Our objective was to preserve the lives of those who were out there. and honestly the love of life is what propelled us.”

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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