Cold weather on the way; warming stations open their doors

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DOTHAN, Ala. Temperatures will drop as low as 27 degrees this week, which means warming stations and shelters around the Wiregrass will open their doors.

"Well obviously it's a place to get in and out of the cold. We're going to have some cots set up in here. So it's a chance for them to no only get out of the cold and have a place to sleep for the night but they're going to get something to eat for supper and well have some breakfast for them in the morning before they leave as well," Bob Gross, associate pastor with missions and senior adults at First Baptist Church said.

From 7pm to 10am on January 20th/21st, First Baptist Church will open it's Family Life Center to those in need.

"I'm grateful for other Christians and all that want to help out the homeless and less unfortunate out here. I mean there is people out here that try and people out here who don't try but just the love of the Christian people out here that want to come and just show love and help other people out, I'm grateful for it," Kevin Banister said.

With the help from the Ark, Harbor and Love in Action, they have been able to host warming stations for the last four years.

"We host it here because it's a great facility, big gymnasium and all so that makes it easier, it's centrally located downtown because most of our homeless population lives near downtown," Gross said.

But for many it's more than just having protection from the cold....

"You know the most important thing in anybody's life is not just having a place to sleep and food to eat, you know it's about relationships with people, having friends, having family," Gross said.

And they hope to develop those strong relationships by hosting warming stations.

"Folks who are homeless a lot of times the reason they are homeless is because they feel disconnected from family especially family and don't have a lot of friends. A lot of the times they don't have a chance to talk with folks but the relationships with people is the most important thing, in addition to the fact that thy will be warm for a couple of nights," Gross said.

Warming stations in Dothan will open when temps are as low as 28 degrees but ultimately it's the organizations call to open a station based on volunteers and staff.