Desatar Ministry Christian Church opens as warming shelter

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Desatar Ministry Christian Church on Milwaukee’s south side plans on keeping its doors open, and the heat on, as the temperatures drop well below zero. The facility will be open as a warming shelter through Wednesday at noon -- but could stay open longer, if church officials decide it's necessary.

“You can’t put a price on helping someone's lives," said the church's pastor Luis Vergara said.

"We are saving lives and we've actually experienced individuals that would have lost their life had they not been dropped off here,” co-pastor Francisca Vergara said.

Church officials have created a platform for volunteers to help those in need during this most recent cold snap, and the help has been pouring in.

“Groups of volunteers are coming here from church groups and professional organizations, and they're going to pool together to create a nice, safe, dignified place for folks to stay for a couple days,” said Chad Stiles a volunteer.

It’s been a community effort. The Milwaukee Police Department has been bringing people in need of shelter by, and the local hospitals have been sending people over in need of a warm place to stay. Some people are looking for a warm place to sleep, others a good meal, and still others are hoping for something warm to wear.

“I need some gloves and coats and things to keep me warm,” said Clayton Mosley from Milwaukee.

On Tuesday evening, a man stopped by to pick up donated clothing for his niece and nephews -- including a birthday gift.

"I figured I'd come down here and find them a coat or something because I can't afford it. Times are tough," the man, named Gabriel told FOX6 News.

Ever since the church opened their doors, donations have been coming in. People have been coming by with bags of items, but they say they still need things, especially blankets. Another thing they need is socks. Volunteers say people have come in with wet socks, which is extremely dangerous in such low temperatures.

“It truly blesses my heart to see how our city, our community members open up their hearts to those who are in need,” said Pastor Luis Vergara.

For now, the church plans on staying open and having food, heat and clothing available until Wednesday, January 8th at noon, but the pastor said that could change.

“We’re monitoring the temperature and seeing where this cold snap is going and if need be we’ll press it a day further but we are waiting it out and see what happens,” said Pastor Vergara.

Anyone is welcome.

"You're not in at this time of night, you're going to freeze out there. I wish it was going on more than Wednesday because there's a lot of people out here in the cold," Gabriel said.

If you want to stop in to volunteer or donate, the church is located at 1170 Windlake Avenue in Milwaukee.