ST. LOUIS – With temperatures expected to fall dangerously low, many St. Louis communities are answering the call to assist the most vulnerable.
Destiny Family Church, in conjunction with the Matin House, is preparing to open a warming center on Shenandoah Avenue to help people get out of the cold.
The two organizations will also provide donated food, blankets, and cots.
“What I expect is for this entire floor to be covered with bodies and cots for people to have some place to stay,” said the owner and executive director of the 22,000 sq.ft, space, Nadida Amatullah-Matin. “Some of us are more fortunate than others so we try to spread the wealth.”
Volunteer Raleigh Padilla said it was just last week when he along with his fiancé were homeless and many times found themselves struggling to escape the cold temperatures.
But then he came to the Matin House to find shelter and now he’s paying it forward by volunteering to help people in need get the same assistance he received.
“I feel their pain, I’ve been there,” said Padilla, “I want to tell them not to give up and keep their heads up because there is always someone out there that’s willing to help you.”
Pastor Michael Robinson said that operating such a large building to accommodate what he expects would be a large number of people trying to escape the cold, comes with some financial challenges. That includes paying for utilities and heat.
“We want you to help us out, we need your support,” said Robinson, “there is a huge need, a huge financial need because we are housing people for over 13 hours at a time.”
FOX 2/News 11 also reached out to St. Louis City asking if the city assists with financing temporary shelters that are available to house people in the cold and in a statement spokesperson Koran Addo said:
“We are very supportive of the work Destiny Church does in the community. As you know, the City cannot just donate money to an organization, but rather must go through a process. Unfortunately, when funds were available last year through an Emergency Solutions Grant, the City did not receive any qualifying bids.
The City has donated cots and blankets to Destiny Church, and is currently working with a number of community and faith-based organizations and volunteers to provide services to people experiencing homelessness.”