“Doing what we need to be doing:” Church opens doors to serve as warming shelter amid brutal cold

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MILWAUKEE -- The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for all of southeastern Wisconsin to be in effect through 10:00 a.m. Monday, December 19th. Amid the dangerous cold, city of Milwaukee leaders asked for assistance providing a warm place to stay for those with nowhere to go -- and a church near 55th and Capitol Drive stepped up to the plate.

Volunteers at St. Benedict the Moor near 9th and State in downtown Milwaukee were ready to help keep people warm on a bitterly cold night. And outside Albright United Methodist Church near 55th and Capitol Drive on Sunday night -- there was a warm glow coming from the inside.

Albright United Methodist Church

Albright United Methodist Church

"I`m always here on Sunday -- but not necessarily on Sunday afternoon," Lynne Hines-Levy said.

The dangerous cold led Hines-Levy to open the church's doors, and allow it to serve as a warming center. Hines-Levy and her husband were serving as the sole volunteers.

"Normally it`s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, but the temperatures today were going to be brutal," Hines-Levy said.

Lynne Hines-Levy

Lynne Hines-Levy

Hines-Levy's vision and passion came to life three years ago in a small room in the church.

"Probably the first time there was a homeless person found dead on the street, that ended any question about wanting to do this," Hines-Levy said.

Now, the church is among the daytime warming shelters across Milwaukee.

Hines-Levy said they're small, but mighty.

Albright United Methodist Church

Albright United Methodist Church

"I think we had three today. It`s not a lot, but it`s four too many," Hines-Levy said.

Hines-Levy and her husband provided blankets, hats, coats, gloves and relief.

"Just to be able to give them something warm -- a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or tea -- just give them a couple of hours to warm up before they have to go back out. Just doing what we need to be doing," Hines-Levy said.

Albright United Methodist Church

Albright United Methodist Church

When the daytime shelters close, many look for overnight shelter.

That's offered at St. Benedict the Moor near 9th and State in downtown Milwaukee and at other locations.

Albright United Methodist Church

Albright United Methodist Church

Most of these shelters are in need of donations -- warm clothing, hats and gloves -- and even bus fares, which can help people get to these warming shelters.