WORCESTER - The basement of 674 Main Street may look like a store. But it's not just any store.
Every Wednesday, Pastor Richie Gonzalez and his volunteers at Net of Compassion let those less fortunate pick out free clothing and necessities.
Gonzalez says: "People may think a roll of toilet paper or toothpaste may be insignificant. But people who are struggling, their other money going to wards the rent, they need something like that."
President of the Board Bill Fredericks said, "It's one thing to get off whether it be drugs or alcohol or whatever. It's another thing to learn how to put your life back together."
Gonzalez and his team are celebrating 10 years of service in Worcester. The nonprofit helps people find clothes, food, and even shelter with hotel grace here in the city.
Gonzalez, who spent time incarcerated and homeless, knows what these people are going through. "You know the struggle, you know how it feels. And not only do you feel it, it moves you to do a response on that. And I think that's something that a lot of our team, in one way or the other, they've been affected with this," Gonzalez said.
During the pandemic, they've had to follow protocols to keep visitors and volunteers safe and socially distanced. But Gonzalez was not going to let COVID-19 get in their way.
"The need of people doesn't take a day off. It doesn't take a day off. People still need," Gonzalez said.
While many see the holiday season as a clump of weeks towards the end of each year, it's a 24/7, 365 days a year thing for Net of Compassion.
And after 10 years in Worcester, it's not enough. They want to continue.
Fredericks said, "The whole idea is for them to not need us anymore. But as Richie says, they're always going to be around."
Gonzalez added, "God keeps providing through people for us to help people in our community, especially in the times we're living in right now."
Ultimately, Gonzalez's goal is to open up a one-stop shop place for Net of Compassion where they can do all of their services. They can clothe people, feed people, and provide them shelter when it's cold.