MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – A church in Manitowoc is preparing to open its doors to people without a home during the winter months, but they need some help to make it work.

For 3 seasons out of the year, First Presbyterian in Manitowoc is just a church, but in the winter, it also becomes the Manitowoc Warming Shelter.

Pastor and shelter facilitator Matt Sauer says, “For a long time in Manitowoc, we’ve always known that there are homeless individuals that are falling through a gap. We wanted to fill that gap on a low barrier, meaning that anybody can just come in. It’s not based on background checks or anything, to just come in and have a meal and be able to sleep for the night.”

In its first year running the shelter last winter, the church helped 55 individuals by providing food, shelter, and other resources. Before the shelter opens on November 15th, staff are asking the public to volunteer and donate items like toiletries and food, amongst others.

Sauer feels it is important to uplift all members of the community, no matter their circumstances.

“To see the homeless in our midst not as a problem that we need to solve, but to see them as our neighbors that we walk in solidarity with them because we’re all in this thing together. When we can lift up each other, then we’re a great community,” Sauer says.

The shelter will stay open until about mid-April. The church also hopes to one day have a facility for the shelter itself, but until then, staff are relying on community support.

To learn more about what how you can donate in-person or online, click here.