With even colder temperatures heading this way this winter, worshipers at one local church are ready to open their doors as a warming shelter.
Last year, WAAY 31 reported that Grateful Life Community Church welcomed in people who are homeless along with their pets. The doors were open to the guests for three weeks. Last year's warming shelter was a success because of all the help from the community and they took in up to 70 people and pets.
"A lot of these folks, you wind up homeless and never expect it. That's exactly what happens," said Ron Ricard.
Volunteer Ron Ricard at The Grateful Life Community Church said the homeless don't have to wait until it's below freezing to come to the church. Every Sunday, their doors are open.
"We have a clothing closet that hands out coats, light jackets, hoodies, thermals and underwear," Ricard said.
They also hand out medicine, blankets, hygiene products and serve warm meals.
"We don't think about fried chicken as a luxury, but some of these folks who are living in tents or in the street, they may have fried chicken once a year. It's real warm and comfort food," Ricard said.
Once the temperature is below 32 degrees for 24 consecutive hours or if it's snowing, Grateful Life will open the church as a warming center. However, this year they're doing things differently.
"We'll have sponsorship nights this year where we get groups or churches or anyone who wants to provide a meal, do group singing or play bingo with our residents," Ricard said.
Right now, church volunteers are preparing for their Thanksgiving feast tomorrow. They're expecting to feed over 100 people.
Grateful Life said they've already been tracking the weather. They're expecting this winter to be below freezing.
The warming shelter has been a ministry of The Grateful Life Community Church for five years.