MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WFXR) – The homeless population in America is prevalent from big cities to small communities like that found in Martinsville.
November 2019, City leaders and advocacy groups in Martinsville set out to develop a Warming Center for those in the community left out in the cold during this winter.
Finding a place in or near the uptown area was proving difficult. Many wanted to help, with over 200 volunteers on hand hoping to find a place soon. Before temperatures dipped below 35°.
“I heard about the Salvation Army having to shut down the warming center while I was at the women’s shelter in Martinsville, and I just read it and it broke my heart.”Ariel Johnson, Warming Center Volunteer
That’s where Cristen Anderson and her team of devoted volunteers stepped in.
With social media postings to spread awareness and a lot of hard work, Cristen was able to find a new home for the warming center.
“Not being able to use the Salvation Army we had to go back to square one… we reached out to several area churches and Forest Hills offered their space.”Cristen Anderson, Warming Center Director
Forest Hills Presbyterian had worked with Kristen in the past and was more than willing to help out.
The church took it upon himself to have the property rezoned to be able to house guests overnight.
The church’s clerk of session George Gutshall says the process wasn’t the slightest bit difficult.
“Because we were going to have people here at night, it had to get rezoned and of course that went through the city of Martinsville and that was amazingly simple.
We filed at one page letter and it was approved right away.”George Gutshall, Clerk of Session Forest Hills Presbyterian
The women’s shelter operates during nights where the temperatures drop below 35°.
If you would like to donate your time, money or any other items such as toiletries and clothing you can do so by bringing those items directly to the warming center.
Check their Facebook page for scheduled days of operation.
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