Overnight, daytime shelters available in Saginaw - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Overnight, daytime shelters available in Saginaw

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(01/21/14) - Imagine trying to deal with this latest polar plunge without the proper winter clothes or a warm place to stay.

Because of that, a Saginaw church is stepping up to help some people in that situation.

As this week's cold weather approached, several Saginaw-area pastors brainstormed ways they could help out.

They realized there aren't a lot of places to go during the day, so St. John Lutheran Church is temporarily opening its doors.

"I contacted the Red Cross and just let them know what we were doing, but it dawned on me this isn't really a disaster. It's just a cold spell. But at the same time, to some people, it is and can be disastrous. It's tough to be out in this cold weather even from your car into a building, it's extremely cold," said Carl Bjork, the Trinity Project Director at St. John.

St. John Lutheran Church is located at 915 Federal Avenue, that's near 2nd Street and right next door to the Saginaw Fire Department.

Tuesday through Thursday it will be open from 1-5 p.m.

There you'll find coffee, juice, cookies, games for the kids and most important, a roof over your head.

Church volunteers will be running the warming shelter.

Bjork says this is the first time the church has opened its doors in this fashion. He hopes people will take them up on this offer.

"The main thing is we just want to offer a warm environment that people can come from, even if they're in their own homes and they are struggling and don't have a warm, a warm shelter. We'd like to offer that too," Bjork said.

If someone is in need of a place to stay overnight, the City Rescue Mission of Saginaw and Good Samaritan Rescue Mission of Bay City are open.

Monday night, 120 people stayed at the City Rescue Mission, and 105 more spent the night at the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission. To give you an idea of how busy that is, Bay City's previous record was 92 overnight guests.

"This definitely is a life and death situation. All you have to do is spend a few minutes out in this type of weather and you realize, real quickly, how important warmth and warm shelter is, and so we have been serving more people than we've ever served before. This has been our fullest winter season so far, and like I said, we're only half way through," said Dan Streeter, the executive director of the City Rescue Mission.

Most of those overnight guests are children with their mothers.

The missions provide a warm place to stay, warm meals, and in many cases, winter clothing.

Those in charge want people to be protected while they're here, and when they leave.

Many simply don't have the money to buy those necessities as they work to get back on their feet. So, to help all the people who come through the doors here, the mission truly needs the help of the community.

"Right now we have enough for everybody that's in house, but if more people continue to come, we're going to need more food, more hats and coats and scarves," Streeter said.

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