GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — As temperatures drop across the Midstate, people in need in Gallatin have a new place to escape the cold.
A new warming center opened this week at the First Baptist Church on East Winchester Street. It will open anytime the temperature drops below freezing, and will operate from November to March.
However, in order for the center to be able to operate, volunteers are needed.
"We need a list of volunteers who will be ready to step up when the temperature drops," said Deborah Alston, the founder of the Stay Warm Shelter in Gallatin.
Alston has operated the Stay Warm Shelter at the First Baptist Church for the last eight years. That shelter only opens on Friday nights in January and February. Alston said it has always been her goal to open an additional shelter, but she said she needs help from the community to make that happen.
"We've run the Stay Warm Shelter," said Alston, "But, I can't staff the warming center from November to March by myself."
Alston said volunteers are asked to arrive at the church at 8:30 p.m. and help set up, greet guests and provide warm drinks and snacks.
Volunteers from the Christ is Love Church in Hendersonville were overseeing the center on Friday night.
Alston said she has seen an outpouring of support from churches and volunteers across the city at the Stay Warm Shelter and hopes the same people will consider helping at the warming center.
People who have helped with the Stay Warm Shelter said it is a rewarding experience.
"If you have a heart and you have a neighbor, it is our duty to be able to help that neighbor," said Tina Baber, a longtime supporter of the Stay Warm Shelter.
The warming center operates from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and is scheduled to open on March 17, 18 and 19 due to the cold weather.
For more information about volunteering at the new warming center visit the Stay Warm Shelter of Gallatin on Facebook or contact First Baptist Church on Winchester Street at (615) 452-8189 or the Stay Warm Shelter at (615) 479-7784.