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Kingsport church offers warm shelter, meal - and hope for homeless

Church offers warm shelter, meal - and hope for homeless

With temperatures dipping into the single digits, a Kingsport church is opening its doors to those who need shelter the most.

Shades of Grace offers everything from a hot shower to a hearty meal and a warm place to stay. But pastors hope those who visit take away much more.

In fact, we sat down with one man who was homeless last year. He now comes back to help as volunteer.

"A lot of people have called this God's living room," Pastor Will Shewey said.

It's a church that transforms into a warm place to stay for those who need shelter from the cold.

"And this may be the closest place to home that they have," Shewey said. Pastor Shewey said they see dozens of people each night they're open.

"We have folks come in who walk a lot at night because they're afraid to lie down and sleep," he said. "Many of them have their things stole from them."

Along with room to rest, volunteers serve hot meals to people.

"I'm at the lowest I can go in my life right now," visitor Scottie Barnette said. "I only have my jacket, a short sleeved shirt and a pair of pants."

But Matthew Cash said he is proof that there is hope. We first met Cash at Shades of Grace, last year. He told us he's slept in baseball dugouts to stay warm.

He said it was the church that helped him turn around his life of addiction and homelessness.

"No more dugouts for me," Cash said. "I have a nice one bedroom apartment. The neighbor below me keeps it so hot, so I barely have to use the heat. I'm blessed."

Cash now has a job and is drug free. When he's not working, he's volunteering at the place that took him in on a cold winter night, and inspired him to get back on his feet.  

"I've been a leech on society for so long," Cash said. "Now that I'm in a position to give back, I try to give back as much as I can."

The overnight shelter is available when temps drop below 20 degrees. Pastors said it will be open through the end of the week.

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