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Center devoted to being more than a warm place to stay

MARTINSVILLE, VA – A community coming together. That's exactly what this story is about.

After it was announced that the Salvation Army's operations had outgrown the space available for a warming center, community members met to come up with a solution.

Cristen Anderson decided to spearhead the movement to open the Warming Center of Martinsville and Henry County.

“We are a conditional center and we are open anytime the temperature is below 35,” Director Anderson said.

Now open at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church for nearly two months, the center has served about 50 guests and provided hundreds of meals and warm nights of sleep.

Countless amounts of supplies have been given to guests, which include backpacks, clothing, personal care items and food.

In January, an anonymous donor provided funds designated for the purchase of a minivan.

“We are a little further out from uptown, so what we offer is transportation from a point in uptown Martinsville, which is the library. We pick up every night at 6:45 p.m. and bring them here. They say for the night and we take them back in the morning,” Anderson explained.

But it's more than just a warm place to stay.

“We've assisted one man in finding an apartment. We've assisted another lady in finding a job. We're more than a warming center. We're doing things to bridge the gap and we want to give a hand up, not just a handout,” Anderson stated.

There is still one month left in their season.

The warming shelter will be open all weekend and on Monday.

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