TDuring the winter season, the First Church of Nazarene in Malden holds a temporary warming center to serve for those that are homeless. They can treat themselves to hot drinks, warm soup, snacks, and comfortability along with a variety of activities such as watching T.V., reading books, coloring, etc. Essentially, not only is their mission to provide a safe shelter for warmth, but to also “[recognize] each person’s inherent dignity and unique circumstance.” The center will be open at night from 8pm to 6am and will conclude on the 28th of February.
Pastor Gerald Whetstone explained that the need “of a warm safe place for the growing number of people in our community who are homeless” is increasing. The church leadership then discussed and prayed for solutions in order to help the homeless population. Due to having a building with extra room, and “a heart’s desire” to provide for the homeless, they decided to open the center. But, in order to make that happen, there “had to be collaborative effort of churches, faith groups, city, civic organizations, and service” for the operation to go smoothly, since it is primarily based on volunteers.
Not only does it benefit the homeless, but also the larger community as well. It provides the opportunity of “bringing people together” and “fostering a sense of corporate responsibility to help others.” Whetstone explains that with the sense of compassion and care engraved within the city, people can help provide needs that others would not be able to.
Word of mouth was the best method to reach the homeless population. Whetstone added that “many are unaware of how connected the homeless community is and when there are resources available to them they spread the word, invite friends and share the news with others.” The Malden Police also took part in spreading out the word. They have a great deal of contact with the homeless community, have been extremely supportive of the center and have transported some of the homeless to the center when possible.
Amanda Maffeo is one of the volunteers who has many positions such as working in the kitchen, along with helping the guests to sign in and interacting with them in order to make them “feel welcome and accepted” which is what she always look forward to the most. With a passion for “providing safety and acceptance” to people, she feels very saddened of the fact that there are “many people hurting in this world.” To her, not only will the warming center symbolize that they care about them, but she also believes that it’s “bringing out the best in humanity.”