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'You can tell they care': Warner Robins church opens warming shelter over freezing Christmas weekend

The Table First Christian Church has room for 30. They're open 24/7 until Monday.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — When the temperatures get as cold as they will be this weekend, it can get dangerous to be outside.

It's especially dangerous for homeless people, who often don't have a safe place to shelter. The Table First Christian Church wants to change that. They opened a temporary cold weather shelter Thursday.

"I was a little nervous," said Anne-Mary Gray at the shelter. "I was living outside in a tent with my dogs."

Anyone would be with the temperatures fast approaching. Gray recently lost her job, and then her home. It makes her vulnerable in the cold.

"I had a house and got evicted. There's a lot of stuff going on with that situation. But we ended up setting up a tent in a friend's backyard," Gray said.

When she heard about The Table's temporary shelter, Gray knew that's where she had to be.

"People are really nice here and they care. You can tell they care," Gray said.

Elder John Glover with the church says this work is important, especially when the mercury drops below 20 degrees.

"I just couldn't imagine. And we couldn't imagine it either. We weren't gonna let it happen. That's why we opened," Glover said.

The church's fellowship hall has room for 30, with hot meals and of course, hot chocolate too. Brian Wise with the Warner Robins code enforcement department even went around town picking folks up in a bus.

"I know pretty much where all of them are at. Most of them have my phone number. So I went by and got a handful of them, brought them back, and I'm fixing to go out and pick up some more," Wise said.

He says it's a real community effort to put it all together. People of all ages donated to the shelter. Even 6-year-old Tah'Chon Mills brought some sandwiches over with his mom.

"Cause I've got to love my neighbors," he said.

The shelter is open until Monday at 110 North Houston Road in Warner Robins, but that's just the beginning. Come January, they plan to open a semi-permanent shelter with showers and 33 bunk beds.

The church had its first try at opening the warming shelter earlier this year, but they didn't fill up all the way. Friday, they expect the fellowship hall will be packed. They'll even have some nurses on-site to check everyone out.

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