Home Christian News Denver Church Converts Gym Into Emergency Shelter for Migrants Amid Freezing Temperatures

Denver Church Converts Gym Into Emergency Shelter for Migrants Amid Freezing Temperatures

Denver Friends Church
Screengrabs via 9News

A church in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Denver is offering newly arriving migrants meals and a warm place to stay as temperatures drop below freezing. 

Denver Friends Church, pastored by Keith Reeser, began planning the initiative in December, when migrants, mostly from Venezuela, began creating encampments throughout the city. The church plans to launch its emergency shelter on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

Starting Wednesday, Denver Friends Church will open its gymnasium to migrants for overnight stays any time the temperature is forecasted to be below 32 degrees or there is an impending snowstorm of three inches or more—something Reeser told a local NBC affiliate is likely to be a nightly reality “through the end of March.” 

According to its website, the mission of Denver Friends Church is to “seek to know and follow the real Christ in the real world.” Listed among its strategies is reaching “out to our local and global neighbors helping them to know the real Christ.” Reeser and his congregation are determined to put those words into action. 

RELATED: South Carolina Pastor Drives for Uber To Identify and Fill Needs in Community

“When we found out about the situation, we just kept asking, ‘What are we supposed to do?’” said Reeser. “I’m reminded that at one time, all of us were foreigners, and someone gave us a shot, someone gave us a chance.”

In advance of opening up their facility, Reese and his leadership team worked with the city to ensure the gymnasium was ready. While the city has provided cots and blankets, the daily cost that Denver Friends Church will incur by running the emergency shelter is roughly $500. 

Additionally, since the church is limited by fire codes, the shelter will only be able to welcome 29 nightly guests, something that Reeser says is “a drop in the bucket.” 

“But it’s a start,” Reeser nevertheless said. “I think at the end of the day, they will think to themselves, ‘I finally got to start over. I got my first try at life.’ And I think we can be a part of that.”

In order to operate the emergency shelter, Denver Friends Church is seeking both financial donations and volunteers who can serve meals, remain at the facility overnight, and clean up after the shelter closes in the morning. 

RELATED: Taylor University Awarded $30 Million To Revitalize Local Community

The shelter will operate from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. and will provide dinner, showers, and breakfast.