HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Gulf Coast is in store for another night of below freezing temperatures. Imagine having to sleep on the ground in these frigid conditions.
A colorful tent tucked away in the woods is home right now for Michael James. The tent is only about six feet wide and standing about five feet tall.
"I'm starting all over. I'm 53 years old, I've worked all my life, I had an injury a few years ago in Northeast Washington. I came down here to work. My friend at G&S Plumbing put me to work part time, but I still can't afford a place to live yet, so I'm staying here in the tent," said James.
James said he has a thick sleeping bag inside his tent, but he knows it's no match for the bitter frost of Old Man Winter. He's one of seven people who headed for the warmth of a heated building at Old Spanish Trial Baptist Church.
"If it wasn't for those folks, I would have been out in the cold," said James.
Church leaders believe providing a cold weather shelter for those without a place to call home is the right thing to do.
"When it gets close to freezing, a lot of people could die in that weather, not to mention the numerous illnesses. Jesus said he came not to be served, but to serve. So we've come to serve," explained Pastor Jack Cooper of Old Spanish Trial Baptist Church.
A hot lunch is served daily to warm the stomachs at Central Bible Church on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis. Blankets, hats, gloves and other clothing items to keep warm are also made available here.
"And we provide that free of charge. There is no voucher required. They're just allowed to go down to the clothes line and select what they can wear. There but for the grace of God go we all, so we see this as an important ministry," said Pastor Mike Ramsey of Central Bible Church.
Church organizations rely on volunteers and donations to operate. If you'd like to help, you can contact Pastor Mike Ramsey at 228-493-4796 or Pastor Zack Cooper at 228-324-8404.