For the 20th straight year, a local pastor is literally hitting the streets, trying to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty in our area.

Every year, Pastor Eric Johns spends Thanksgiving Week eating and sleeping with the homeless.

He'll sleep outside for five nights, and eat in area soup kitchens.

This year, his two teenage sons are joining him.

Over the course of the week, Pastor Johns hopes to spread the word about this "boxes of love" program — which gives food and wrapped presents to thousands of families at Christmas.

Spectrum News caught up with the pastor and his sons late Monday night as they got ready for their first night on the streets.

Pastor Johns explained why this week is so important to him and his family.

“Over the years, year after year, going out on the streets, it really did begin to change me as a person. Just as a pastor in the inner city and getting out into the community, living in another man's world for a bit, I began really to become friends with the homeless people in our community,” he said.

If you want to donate to Pastor Johns' cause, go to