North Texas churches serving as shelters during freezing cold

Shelters at churches and non-profits will be crowded Monday night with people who don't have a warm place to stay. Many of them rely on volunteers to make sure everyone who needs help gets it.

Monday was the second night in a row that many churches have stayed open overnight to provide shelter to the homeless. And it takes a lot of volunteers to make it happen.

The warmth from the sun was hardly noticeable Monday with temperatures across North Texas hovering around the freezing mark.

At Oak Lawn UMC, boxes of donated coats were brought inside the sanctuary where dozens of people sought shelter from the cold for a second night.

It was a similar scene at Axe Memorial United Methodist Church in Garland, where the gymnasium has been turned into an overnight shelter. There was plenty of cots and blankets. Folks can even bring their pets.

“They are people,” said volunteer Grace McLeroy. “They have the same emotions that all of us do. Some of them need just a little bit of help.”

Pam Swendig is a retired music teacher who is now the executive director of Good Samaritans of Garland. The small non-profit helps people in need like Adolfo Valdispino, a day laborer in need of shelter.

“I’ve been out there when it’s cold, and it’s very hard out there because ain't no one going to do nothing for you,” Valispino said. “You got to go out there and get the firewood and the blankets.”

People like Swendig and McLeroy are helping to keep the doors open.

“To me, that's inspiring watching the community to really care for each other,” Swwndig said. “They know to build a strong community you have to work together.”

“I hope that a few people get to know that there are people out here helping, like God told us, to help the needy and the poor,” McLeroy said.

Both Axe United Memorial Methodist Church and Oak Lawn UMC plan to stay open through Wednesday.