BLOUNT COUNTY, Tenn. — First Baptist Church in Maryville opened its doors tonight to help keep the homeless warm as frigid temps settled over East Tennessee.
The church is partnering with community leaders again this year to provide a warm place for the homeless to stay during nights when temps dip dangerously low.
The warming shelter opened at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at 202 West Lamar Alexander Parkway and will remain open until 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Both an evening meal and breakfast will be provided.
As the winter arrives and we see more nights of freezing temperatures, a white flag will wave outside of the church when the temperatures get dangerously below 25 degrees to invite people in.
Drew Goins with First Baptist said he hopes the shelter shows homeless people the Maryville community cares about them.
"Christ calls us to love, and if that's giving them a warm belly and a warm place to stay, then that's what I want them to leave with, the hope and love of Jesus Christ," Goins said.
Volunteers are still needed for those nights that dip below 20 degrees. If you want to help through the winter, the United Way of Blount County will be holding an information session on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. inside First Baptist Church of Maryville's Life Center.
For those in Knoxville, KARM is also flying its white flag at 418 North Broadway to provide people a warm place to stay during dangerously cold conditions.