FLINT (WJRT) (1/19/2020) - "It's important to remember that it could be any one of us. It could be any of us out there. It's important not to judge, just to help," Mary Stevenson said.
She serves as the Volunteer Services Coordinator for Catholic Charities' Center for Hope in downtown Flint.
This is their 10th winter keeping open a warming center from December through March.
"They can come and go during the day," she explained. "We serve lunch to our warming center guests at 11:30 a.m.; and then to the public from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Then in the afternoon, they can come and stay all afternoon and be warm and watch television."
When it's below freezing, like it will be this week, the Center for Hope never asks anyone to step out, so they can clean the space.
"They kind of scoot over a little bit and we clean around 'em, get things tidied up, without asking them to leave. It's just the weather is too brutal for people to stay outside," Stevenson said.
The only thing they ask is for guests to come in before 8 p.m. That's when they lock the doors.
And there are no beds, but Stevenson said a recent donation helped them purchase a mat for the floor. They always provide blankets and pillows
"We don't ask questions, there's no residency requirement or income requirement or anything for the services that we provide," Stevenson added.
While you're inside, she said any guest is welcome to access their laundry room, community closet and showers.
"You come in and you need help and we do our very best to help you or we find somebody who can," Stevenson said.
If you're fortunate enough to be able to give, Stevenson said they're always looking for the following items in the winter: lip balm, hand lotion, men's gloves, hats, scarves, hand sanitizer, hand warmers, toilet paper.
The Center for Hope is open for donations Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you cannot make it during those times, Stevenson said you can call (810) 265 - 7025 to set up an appointment.