Churches Provide Shelter from Freezing Temperatures
COLUMBIA - Tuesday marks the second continuous night of Columbia churches working together to provide people with food and a warm place to stay out of the cold winter weather. Missouri United Methodist Church is using its bus to shuttle Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen guests on Wilkes Blvd. to the Unitarian Universalist Church on Shepard Blvd.
United Methodist volunteers made two round trips on Monday night to bus 12 people from their evening meal at Loaves and Fishes to Unitarian Universalist. In the morning, volunteers also bused guests back to the central city.
The city provides cots and blankets and the host church provides the space and the volunteers to stay at the location overnight. Volunteers also provide guests with a morning meal before they leave for the day.
Pastor of Administration at United Methodist, Rev. Larry Williams, said people are very appreciative of the program.
"It's a pleasure and it's a blessing that we have these assets and we wanted to use them for the benefit of the community," Williams said.
Unitarian Universalist is able to house a little more than 30 guests per night.
Williams also said he is excited about conversations and collaboration with the city to expand the program.
"Maybe move to a point where we have a permanent location to provide year round services," Williams said. "But right now, we know it's bitterly cold and we just want to have a place for folks to get out of the cold."
The bus service to Unitarian Universalist will be provided until Dec. 20. After that date, another host church will continue offering the service.
To volunteer during the month of December, contact Unitarian Universalist Church.
To volunteer for a similar program during January and February, contact United Methodist Church.