The First United Methodist Church of Marble Falls, 1101 Bluebonnet Drive, has opened its gym to those needing to stay warm during the Christmas polar vortex. The warming center will be open through noon Monday, Dec. 26. Come around to the side of the church to the gym on Mission Hills Drive to stay, volunteer, or donate food, drinks, blankets, sleeping bags. Staff photo by Jennifer Greenwell
By Suzanne Freeman
A 24-hour warming center will be open through Monday, Dec. 26 at the First United Methodist Church of Marble Falls, 1101 Bluebonnet Drive. Volunteers are needed to help staff the church gym in shifts. Donations of food, drink, blankets, sleeping bags, and chairs are also needed. Anyone wanting to volunteer or who can bring donations, should come to the church gym on Mission Hills Drive just off Bluebonnet Drive.
“This came together pretty quickly,” said Cristy Everett, administrative assistant at the church. “We don’t have any cots or anything. Everyone will have to bring their own blankets or sleeping bags.”
A hard freeze warning, the result of Polar Vortex Elliot that is sweeping the nation, has been issued by the National Weather Service through noon Saturday, Dec. 24. Sub-freezing temperatures could dip as low as 8 degrees during that time. Temperatures will begin to warm up a bit on Christmas Day with a high expected near 48.
The Methodist church warming center in the gym will be cordoned off into three areas, one each for men, women, and families. It should be able to hold about 150 people, Everett said.
“We haven’t done this before,” she continued. “Right now the temperatures are staying below freezing and we don’t want anyone outside in this.”
The center is open to anyone who is unable to stay warm, whether they are homeless or have homes without heat or electricity.
Anyone staying at the center is also welcome to join the congregation in its holiday services, which begin with La Posada at 3:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Two additional Christmas Eve services are set for 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Dec. 25, the church will hold a Christmas Day service at 10 a.m.
“This is what the love of Christ is about,” Everett said. “We open our doors to people and invite them in. We want to help them.”
Volunteers need to bring their own chairs.