Local church opens doors to homeless as temperature drops below freezing

Warming Shelter.PNG

A Bristol, Virginia church is transforming itself into a warming shelter for those who need a place to escape the cold.

Hunt Memorial UMC is located on Harmeling Street and is flying a white flag outside to let the public know all are welcome inside.

"I've opened my eyes to the amount of people living on the streets, and I've realized there are people out there that need help," said the church's pastor Caroline Hawthorne.

Pastor Hawthorne said she wanted to help the community after she saw a family with no where to go.

"Two or three weeks ago, when we had another cold spell, I got a call that there was a family living in their car," said Hawthorne. "They needed a place to stay overnight and I couldn't find any place for them to stay."

To try and prevent something like this from happening again, she's turned the church into a day shelter.

From 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. they will serve hot meals, coffee and water, and hand out blankets and socks.

They will keep the shelter in place until Thursday, January 31st.

Right now the church doesn't have the accommodations to allow people to stay overnight, but hopes that will change in the future.

For now, Hawthorne advises those in need to head to Haven of Rest Rescue Mission or the Salvation Army if they need a place to stay overnight.

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