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Huntsville church, Downtown Rescue Mission filling up due to cold

Many people WAAY 31 talked with on Wednesday say it's hard to believe Huntsville doesn't have an official warming center after this latest blast of arctic air; but they say they're thankful for places like Grateful Life Community Church and the Downtown Rescue Mission who are keeping their doors open in a time of need.

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 5:00 PM
Updated: Feb 22, 2018 8:36 AM

With temperatures below freezing across the Tennessee Valley, people are looking for any and all ways to stay warm.

WAAY 31 went in search of public spaces for people to get some heat and found that many had closed their doors.

However, there are still a select few who are serving those in need.

Many people WAAY 31 talked with on Wednesday say it's hard to believe Huntsville doesn't have an official warming center after this latest blast of arctic air, but they say they're thankful for places like Grateful Life Community Church and the Downtown Rescue Mission who are keeping their doors open in a time of need.

“They come here so they can get fed, they can be stress-free, and they’ve got a safe environment where they don’t have to worry about freezing to death," said Grateful LIfe volunteer Eric Agnew.

Agnew says they're housing about 80 people right now, but they're prepared.

“Food, clothing, medicine, gloves, warm clothes—whatever they need—sleeping bags, tents for when they get released from here," Agnew said. "We’ve got so much stuff and it’s because of the people in the community. These people have donated and opened their hearts to these people.”

And Mark LeVan says he couldn't be more thankful.

“It’s a blessing. I mean, it’s good to know there’s some people out here that actually do care about us homeless," LeVan said.

Both the church and the Downtown Rescue Mission in Huntsville tell WAAY 31 they’re open for anyone who may need help.

The Downtown Rescue Mission actually just opened a second location, which is already at capacity with over 200 people.

“To see the need be met with the capacity, and then an overflowing, it just does our hearts so good that we’re here and we’re able to help everybody, said Senior Director of Women's Ministry at the Downtown Rescue Mission, Tracy Gibson.

WAAY 31 stopped by the Salvation Army and a few other places Wednesday to see how many people each organization was helping out, but were surprised to find out, in the plummeting temperatures, they had closed their doors during the day.

But both the church and rescue mission say they're here to help.

“When they come here, they know they’ve got somebody that cares and loves for them, and that will take care of them and help them out," Agnew said.

If you’re one of those people who’s looking for a way to stay warm, all you need is an ID with your name and picture on it, and you’re allowed in at the rescue mission.

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