Florence warming center looks for additional help from churches

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - With temperatures plummeting across the Tennessee Valley, groups in the Shoals have opened warming shelters to take care of the homeless population.

A warm meal, coupled with a blanket and cot may not seem like a lot but it's all some people may get to help survive this winter.

Last winter, The Warming Center in Florence opened 39 nights and they have already opened for five nights this year.  It is currently located on Tennessee Street at the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.

“We understand we can’t fix the problems that come with their situation, but we just want them to have sustenance and shelter and be out of the cold,” said volunteer coordinator Krista Manchester.

During the summer, Manchester and volunteer coordinator Beth Howard decided they wanted to sustain the program but not put the burden on one church.  That’s when they found "Room in the Inn."

It's a faith-based organization in Nashville that uses churches to feed and shelter those in need by rotating facilities on a nightly basis.

So far, 11 churches in the Shoals have signed up.

“If we have 20 churches,” explained Howard, “it’s just going to spread out the work and lighten the load on everyone.”

Howard said there are more than 200 faith-based congregations in the Shoals.  She said the way "Room in the Inn" is set up, it taps into all of those resources.

"Really, our goal should be to help others and to reach out in our community," said Howard. “And so that’s the wonderful thing about ‘Room in the Inn’, is that it pulls all of us together and lets us work together as a community to help those around us that are in immediate need.”

The volunteers are hoping to get “Room in the Inn” up and running on January 3rd.

Until that time, there is an immediate need for personal supplies and food to help with the warming shelter in Florence.  Just email roomintheinnflorence@gmail.com to get more specifics.

Related: In northeast Alabama, churches have also formed 'Room in the Inn of Jackson County.'