Homeless shelter begins winter operations in the Shoals

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SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WHNT) – What started as a grass-roots effort to bring the homeless out of the cold is now uniting congregations in northwest Alabama.

“Room in the Inn” began as a warming shelter and has developed into a combined effort of churches across the Shoals to care for the homeless.

Shelter, a cot and a couple of warm meals; it may not seem like a lot, but on a cold winter night it means either life or death to someone who is homeless.

“Room in the Inn” began in the Shoals as a faith-based group to assist more than 250 homeless individuals during the winter months.

“That’s one of the things, I spend half my day convincing people that we have homeless people, and the other half of the day is convincing the homeless people there are people who want to help,” stated Krista Manchester, with “Room in the Inn.”

Manchester and Beth Howard helped organize “Room in the Inn.” The two also spend a lot of time speaking to groups to help get more churches involved.

As of right now, 22 churches are opening their doors to the homeless on rotating nights. That’s only 12 beds per night. There’s a need for multiple churches to operate on occasion.

“The more that get to experience it, the better it is for our community,” explained Manchester. “Because it allows them to experience something that they don’t know anything about. And it allows the people in our community that are in need to feel cared about by all kinds of different people.”

“Room in the Inn” began winter operations this week and plan to stay open through March.

For more information on how churches or individuals can help visit “Room in the Inn” on the web.