Mid-Ohio Valley churches and non-profits help people escape the cold

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - As frigid air continues to sweep across the country, many organizations in the Mid-Ohio Valley are helping people combat the cold.

"The colder it gets, the more people that trickle in," Jessy Towner, the director of operations at House to Home, said.

House to Home, located at 413 8th Street in Parkersburg, is a day center for the homeless and marginally impaired. It provides everything from food to computer access.

Towner says there's been an increase in the amount of people coming in as the temperatures have dropped. On Wednesday, House to Home helped more than 70 people, and helped more than 50 on Thursday.

Towner says they're able to stay afloat because of the generous donations from the community.

"Our community rocks," she said.

"We ask for something and generally somebody comes through for us."

The sense of community is also felt at what local residents call the "Pink Church." The Memorial Church of the Good Shepherd, located at 903 Charles Street in Parkersburg, is open all year round to those who need a break from the elements outside.

The church’s Rector, Rev. Marjorie Bevans, says they've seen an increase in people seeking help too.

"We have seen a lot of people lately coming through that we have not seen before; I presume homeless people, or maybe people that are living in a house who don't have heat. We've heard of a lot of people that have broken pipes the past couple of weeks," Bevans said.

Rev. Bevans says people can come inside the church for free coffee and donuts, or just to warm up, during their office hours throughout the week. Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. They're closed Fridays and Saturdays.

"They're very thankful and we do try to make them feel at home. We don't want them to feel like they're intruding and we talk to them and we offer to pray with them if they have something that they need prayer for," Bevans said.

"It's a rewarding job because I get to give back to the community," Towner said.

House to Home operates Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It's usually not open on Saturdays but it will be during the winter.

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