God's Warm Place Closing

breaking news

On January 25th, the Salvation Army was able to reopen their homeless shelter in Madisonville.  The shelter had been closed for sixteen years.  The shelter there will be open every night regardless of weather.  The Salvation Army building was constructed with wonderful facilities for a homeless shelter.  Please pray that the shelter will be used and will be able to remain open.  With the reopening of the Salvation Army shelter, there is no need for our emergency cold weather shelter, God's Warm Place, to remain open.  A sincere "thank you" goes out to all the volunteers who have helped keep our shelter open for the past three winters.  You have made a difference in the lives of several of God's children.  

God's Warm Place Update

handsImage4bAs I write this, we are at the half-way mark of our three-month commitment of opening our gym as an overnight warming shelter when the “feel like” temperature is 32 or less.  More nights than not we have had at least one person take advantage of the shelter.  There have been a handful of folks spend the night, typically with one or two on any given evening.  Our biggest challenge has continued to be having enough volunteers committed to spending the nights we are open.  There are nights our doors would have remained locked if it were not for a handful of people dedicated to this ministry who have spent several nights at the shelter.  The appeal is still there: We would welcome anyone who might like to sign up and spend a night.  You can do that on line at our website: newfpc.com. Under the ‘Outreach” banner at the top of the home page there is a drop for ‘God’s Warm Place.’ Once there, you can click on the Sign-up Genius and select any night(s) you are able to help out.  As of today, there are 44 more potential days for God’s Warm Place to be open. Most likely (hopefully) all the remaining days to the end of February will not be at 32 degrees or less.  Out of those 44 nights, though, there still is room for 30 nights to sign up.

Some say that it isn’t worth it to go through all this for a small handful of people in our community.  I’m guessing those people would have a change of mind (and heart?) if it was their relative or friend walking through our doors on a cold night.

What Is It?

“God’s Warm Place” is a cold weather overnight shelter program available during the months of December, January, and February at the First Presbyterian Church, 260 West McLaughlin Avenue, Madisonville, KY.  We encourage anyone who does not have access to a warm and safe place to sleep to utilize this community ministry.  The only requirement is that our guests cooperate fully with our volunteer staff and do not disturb others.

We will provide a warm and secure indoor space in our gym with mattresses, blankets, bathroom facilities, and warm beverages for anyone who needs overnight shelter from the cold.

On nights when the temperature or wind chill (“feels like” temperature) is forecast to be 32 degrees or below by The Weather Channel (or Weather Underground), we will fly a white flag on the outside wall of the gym, and open the shelter doors at 7:00 pm.  The shelter will remain open until 7:00 am the next morning, and all men, women, and children will be welcomed.

If you would like more information about the shelter, please call the church office at 270.821.6426.

Shelter Rules

  • Shelter hours are 7:00 pm until 7:00 am
  • All guests must register at the shelter entrance.
  • An ID of some type will be helpful if available.
  • Guests will be subjected to metal detection scanning during registration.
  • The following are absolutely prohibited: alcoholic beverages, drugs (Staff must be notified of required prescription medications), weapons of any kinds, and animals.
  • Should a guest leave the shelter before 7:00 am, he or she may not re-enter.
  • Smoking inside the shelter is prohibited. There will be outdoor smoking breaks at 8:30 pm and 9:30 pm.
  • Guests will be separated by gender. Men will sleep in one area, and women in a separate area.
  • Inappropriate behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Inappropriate behavior will result in a guest being asked to leave the shelter. Behavior will be monitored by closed circuit cameras, and by the Madisonville Police Department.Lights will be turned out at 10:00 pm.
  • The lights will be turned back on at 6:00 am.
  • Each guest is expected to maintain his or her area in a neat and safe manner. Cleanup will begin at 6:00, and any assistance from the guests will be appreciated.
  • The shelter staff will make every reasonable effort to make the overnight stay for each guest as safe and peaceful as possible.

Instructions for Volunteers

To sign up as a volunteer staff member, please go to the Sign Up Genius website.  You will be asked for your name, email address, and cell phone number.  You do not have to sign up for an account with Sign Up Genius.  If the shelter is closed on a night that you are scheduled to work (temperature and "feels like" temperature are forcast to be above 32 degrees by the Weather Channel and Weather Underground), you do not have to show up, but please consider signing up for another night.  There will be a "Host" from First Presbyterian Church present to assist with opening the shelter each evening, and closing the shelter each morning.  Initially, we are limiting signups to two times each week in order to give everyone a chance to be "blessed to be a blessing."

“To Do” List for Volunteer Staff Members

  1. Arrive at the shelter at 6:45 pm to prepare for guest sign in at 7:00.
  2. Scan each guest with the metal detector at sign in. If knives are found, they can be locked in the kitchen until morning.
  3. Place mattresses as needed in the men’s area (west) and women’s area (east) as guest arrive.
  4. Place a clean blanket on each mattress.
  5. Allow smoke breaks outside the shelter entrance doors until 10:00 pm.
  6. Gym lights should be out by 10:00 pm.
  7. Share a short devotional and/or prayer before lights are turned out.
  8. Leave lights in entrance hallway (or table lamp) and bathroom hallway on all night (close hallway doors to block some of the light). There are night lights placed around the gym.
  9. Check the bathrooms each evening. Check for contraband stashed in toilet tanks.
  10. Turn on lights at 6:30 am.
  11. Guests are to leave by 7:00 am. Guests may enter from 7:00 pm until 6:00 am, but if a guest leaves before 7:00 am, he or she may not re-enter the shelter.
  12. Do Not become physically involved in any confrontation. Use your cell phone to summon Madisonville Police at 270.821.1720, or MPD, MFD, or EMS at 911.

Volunteer Boundaries

  1. Do not share personal information with any guest; such as last name, phone number, or email.
  2. Do not give or loan money, cell phone, jewelry, gifts of value, or any personal items to guests.
  3. Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry when working in the shelter.
  4. Do not accept any personal item or gift from any guest.
  5. Do not date, meet up with, or enter into a personal relationship of any kind with any guest.