GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As the lower temperatures hit our area, people across the Coast become dependent on having a roof over their heads. One shelter in Gulfport is dusting off its cots and making sure it's ready for colder conditions if they hit soon.
The Salvation Army area command in Gulfport will soon provide warmth for hundreds of the homeless. When not being used as a shelter, the building serves as a food pantry.
When the temperatures start to plummet, the needs of the community once again change.
"The Salvation Army has done this for years and goes over and above," said Wade Bishop, of First United Methodist Church.
Bishop's church has been helping the Salvation Army since 2008 when it acquired this building. Bishop has led that effort as the church's lay leader.
When the temps drop, he and his fellow church members get the building in shape for hosting the homeless.
"I just think it's a really practical way to demonstrate what we've learned about our call through the message of Jesus Christ," said Bishop.
There's also another message Bishop hopes everyone will get.
"We hope that more and more people will understand what the need is and are willing to respond to that need," said Bishop.
That need is the void of a permanent shelter in the City of Gulfport. The Rev. Claire Dobbs, of First United Methodist Church, is brand new to the area. She can already see the importance of having a permanent place for the homeless.
"Even in the summer months, people are needing shelter, and I hope we can make that happen," said Dobbs.
She thinks it's possible, especially with the congregation she has.
"It's so exciting to be a part of a church and pastor a church that cares about engaging the community and caring for those in need," said Dobbs.
The Salvation Army usually opens the shelter if temperatures drop below 40 degrees. In most cases, doors open from 4 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next day.
If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up at http://salvationarmyalm.org/msgulfcoast/.