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Santa Barbara church opens warming center for local homeless population

Santa Barbara County’s homeless population will have a few more places to come in from the cold Sunday night.

The First United Methodist Church on Anapamu Street have set up Fellowship Hall into a safe haven for those to get out of the cold.

These warming centers can be found in Lompoc, Isla vista and Carpinteria.

“I have a home where I am safe, warm and dry but I don’t want anyone not have that in their life,” One parishioner said. “It just makes me happy to make people feel safe.”

The church is just one of many warming centers opening up in Santa Barbara county in anticipation of the cold weather.

“When I see the people coming from the streets out of the cold, I really want to help them in anyway I can,” Felicity Moore, another parishioner said.

This is the sixth year the church has provided a safe place for the homeless.

Pastor Allen Strout says as many as 80 people have come here to find shelter.

“The warming centers provide the function of providing a place that nobody else does.” Strout said. “No matter what their condition.”

The church not only provides a meal and a place to rest but also much more.

“There’s also often Doctors Without Walls , and they will often set up a table and see people with one medical issue or another, they will also have a table with clothing on it for people who need clothing,” Strout said.

Volunteers say its simple way to give back to the community

“People seem very grateful for it and they sit and we serve them and they talk and laugh and joke like the time. We burned the cookies they still tried to eat them,” Moore said.

For more information and how you can help, visit First United Methodist Church online.

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