Church’s Code Blue overnight sleep place a community blessing

The nights are getting colder, sometimes frigid, and it will be that way most nights for the next six weeks or so.

Most of us will be watching our thermostats, juggling the priorities of a family budget and staying reasonably warm.

But there will be a segment of the population, under the radar, without a home, with much more critical priorities – survival.

For them, First United Methodist Church is offering a compassionate lifeline – a warm place to rest.

The Code Blue Emergency Warming Center opened Jan. 3 in the lower level of the church at 604 Market St. If the temperature is forecast to fall below 32 degrees – most nights in January and February, those blue-lit doors will be opened from 9 to 10 p.m. for those who want and need to enter for a cot, a pillow, coffee and a snack.

There will be three or four hosts taking care of everyone overnight until doors open again at 7:30 a.m. Notably, there will be the opportunity to talk but no preaching.

The message should be pretty self-explanatory: Goodness comes with no strings attached, but it offers untold opportunities to those who want them.

The church is working with the United Way, the American Rescue Workers, Sojourner Truth and Family Promise, in addition to any other group that deals with the homeless and can get the word out about the overnight shelter.

This is great work being done by the church and emblematic of the special kindness that shows itself in our community through a variety of programs offered by local organizations.

Cumulatively, they define the richness of our community.

In many ways, the richness of a community is defined by what is done for those most in need.

The Code Blue program is an example of what makes our community special.