CHICAGO (STMW) - Monday was the first full day of Safety in the Sanctuary, which is a church's response to the violence in Chicago.
And to help kickoff the initiative, police officers held roll call at the church.
For the next 21 days, the New Life Covenant Church in Humboldt Park is keeping its doors open 24 hours a day to be a place of refuge, to offer nightly dinner and to congregate.
"We want to present an alternative to the violence in our city to provide hope in our city. We realize we need hope at this time,” said Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus.
There is a strong emphasis on families, but everyone is welcome.
Every night special workshops and events will be held, and dinner is served at 6 p.m.
Police officers will also be a partner in the initiative.
"Long term we hope that it impacts the violence not only here in the 14th district, but violence throughout the city,” said Chicago Police District 14 Commander Marc Buslik. “They want to make sure that they are partnering with us as well. We are partnering with them."
Comm. Buslik says they plan on having a presence at the church the next three weeks and will hold recruitment and crime prevention workshops.