PUEBLO — Just about one month ago, the city of Pueblo expanded the hours of operation for the warming shelter downtown, preparing for the below freezing temperatures that hit Southern Colorado.
Now, the region is preparing once again for brutal winter weather and Pueblo's homeless community is left to face an incoming snow storm. One church in particular is going the extra mile to help those without shelter handle the cold.
"Everybody in Pueblo knows what this church does... We’re a just little church, but we have a big heart for others," said Pastor Paul Montoya with the Martin Luther King Church and Youth Center.
Montoya and his small staff make sure to feed the homeless every single day at roughly 3:00 pm down by the camps on the river, providing "peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bologna sandwich, a bag of potato chips, cheese crackers, bottled water, cookies, and a package of vitamins".
When the freezing weekend came to Pueblo back in February, Montoya got approval from the city to use the sanctuary as a warming shelter during the day from about 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Because the church is located right across from an elementary school, the homeless are not allowed to stay overnight.
“People were bringing them in off the street so they wouldn’t freeze to death... We had 35 sometimes 40 men and women," said Montoya
The homeless community knows another bad storm is on the way and are already asking Montoya for help.
They’re already calling me from the river bottom since this morning - Pastor Paul, do you have some propane, do you have any hand warmers, extra socks… Well, ya know, when you’re giving out hand warmers every day cause it’s so cold down there, we go through that stuff fast!”
However, the church has dealt with their own setbacks during the pandemic.
“With COVID, we haven’t opened or church back up on Sundays, so the thing about it is, we’re relying on donations from the community because we’re not getting no tithes and offerings on Sundays."
Martin Luther King is relying on donations from community members, so if you have anything to offer - blankets, clothes, hand warmers, shoes, socks - you can reach out to Montoya here or at the phone number 719-778-8665 . The church says they cannot accept food donations due to health code concerns.
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