BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The thermometer has dipped below freezing, and that can be a dangerous and scary situation for people without a place to call home.
A number of places across Alabama have opened their doors tonight and welcomed people inside, including the Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham. These safe zones are important to more than you may realize.
When temperatures in Birmingham drop below freezing for at least two nights in a row, the Boutwell opens up for anyone in need of a warm place to sleep. Not only have over 150 people taken advantage of this, but there are a good number of volunteers to try and make them as comfortable as possible.
Even a group of carolers–complete with Santa–came by to spread a little cheer tonight. Local restaurants and church groups also provided food for everyone tonight.
People have come by to donate toiletries like deodorant and toothbrushes, which are in high demand here, but those demands have been met thanks to the kindness of so many people.
“We do what we can, while we can, because you never know when we won’t be able to,” Harold Mason with Bethel Missionary Baptist Church said.
That kindness means a lot to the people in need.
“It makes me happy, you know? That people care,” Nathaniel Adams, who is staying at the Boutwell tonight, said.
Other shelters are open tonight. Some, like the Firehouse will let people in past capacity so that no one will be forced to freeze out here.
The good news is it won’t be freezing Friday night.