More congregations offer help as warming centers

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - The main warming center in Florence is gearing up for the coldest week of the year.

Volunteers spend hours at First Presbyterian Church on Tennessee Street. They're helping their community stay warm on cold nights.

"We generally like to have everyone checked in by six," said Krista Manchester, United Way Volunteer Coordinator. "Tonight, we'll let anyone come in as they need to."

Wednesday night was one of the coldest this year. First Presbyterian is the go-to warming center in the area. However, as of last month, they've had many more join their effort.

"We started 'Room in the Inn of the Shoals' on January 3rd," Manchester said. "Each night they come and check in here between 4 and 6 pm. Then, some go to one congregation and some go to another. As our numbers have grown, some nights we stay here an overflow."

Thirteen more congregations teamed up to offer help and support as warming centers in the Shoals. With more cold nights still to come, Manchester said they could use the help, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

"We still could use more congregations," she said. "Our goal next year is to be open from November 1st through March, so a much longer season."

For now, if you need a place to stay, try to check into the church by 6:00 p.m. They're always accepting donations, but it you want to help out on these colder nights, drop off-hand warmers, toe warmers, jackets and backpacks.

You can also help out by donating to United Way in the Shoals.

WHNT News 19 is gathering more information on warming centers across the Tennessee Valley:

Athens Warming Center
Central Church of Christ (US 31 and AL 251).
Thursday-Friday 6 p.m. - 7 a.m.
Warms meals will be provided.

Crossville Warming Center
Union Grove Baptist Church, 76 Union Grove Road North, just off Highway 68
Open 24 hours through Saturday morning