Warming centers prepare for large numbers of people


Reporter- Elizabeth Fields
Photojournalist- Mason Watkins

PADUCAH- As temperatures drop dangerously low, one church is preparing to be a warming center for the first time.

Senior Pastor Raynarldo Henderson at Washington Baptist Church said Paducah's Mayor Gale Kayler called him and asked him to think about taking a turn to serve as a month long warming center. He said it was an obvious choice.

The bottom line is its cold," he said. "And we're a church. And this is a great opportunity for our church to be the church."

They received 15 cots and the blankets to go with each from Grace Episcopal, the church that served as the warming center in December. He said church members will donate the food and their time to keep the doors open, but he's not sure how much it might cost for the month to heat the building around the clock.

Mike Jones spent a few nights at Grace Episcopal and is grateful for the volunteers at Washington Baptist. He told Local 6 he knows what it's like to have to sleep outside.

"You just freeze. You can shake and you're just not going to warm yourself up," he said.

Anyone who shows up, is provided a meal and a warm bed. Volunteers will run a background check, but as long as it comes back clear, a person can stay the whole night. In the morning breakfast is served and and shelter closes at 8 a.m. It's open every night that the temperatures are expected to drop below 32.

Jones said he appreciates the kindness from volunteers the most.

"It's wonderful that people are still got enough heart to help an volunteer because of course you can get anybody if you pay them, but to volunteer their time. To just sit and watch the walls after everybody goes to bed it's amazing and it's great," he said. "It's a wonderful thing."

Henderson said they have 15 cots, but won't turn anyone away. They are set on supplies for now, but need volunteers to sign up for one of the three shifts. If you're interested you can call the church office at (270) 442-8033.


Washington Baptist Church is located at 721 Washington Street in Paducah.

For other warming centers in the area, click here.