Warming Station work now complete, likely open Friday night

3 10 ws charlie and cots
Pastor Charlie Barbettini displays the living quarters inside the new Warming Station at Take It To The Streets Ministry in Pulaski. (Mike Williams photos/The Patriot)



The Patriot

If the weather forecast holds true, the Warming Station in Pulaski will be open this Friday night (March 10) for the first time this year to give shelter to the homeless.

The opening has been a long time in coming, and again, if the weather forecast is correct, the opening comes in the nick of time. Nighttime temperatures are forecast to hit lows in the 20’s over the next week or so.

As Charlie Barbettini, Pastor of Taking It To The Streets Ministry says, it’s been a blessing that winter in this area has been relatively mild so far.

Located in the back of the Taking It To The Streets Ministry at 235 N. Jefferson Avenue – in the old Sherwin Williams store – the Warming Station opens each night when the temperature is below 40 degrees or colder at 6 p.m.

3 10 ws house rulesBarbettini and the church’s board made the decision in 2021 to purchase the old paint store building for the new home of the ministry and Warming Station.

The building has been transformed through mostly volunteer labor and donations into a modern facility and home base for all the ministry’s efforts to spread the gospel, feed and clothe the needy and give shelter to the homeless on bitter cold nights.

The front portion of the facility is divided into two halves with the sanctuary and stage for services on one side, while the other side includes a commercial kitchen, long tables for meals and an area filled with racks of clothes and coats for many of the need who are served by the church.

Construction on the Warming Station portion of the building began on Sept. 3, 2022 and was completed March 4 of this year.

The total expense of the remodeling of the entire building cost a whopping $144,728.14, according to Barbettini.

Amazingly, donations to the ministry to pay for the remodel totaled $135,752 – all raised through donations and without the first fundraising event.

“God has put it upon people’s hearts to send money to us,” Barbettini said.  “It just amazes me. God is a big God! When we moved over here, we knew God would supply. We didn’t know where the money was coming from, but we knew God would supply. And to not do one fundraiser and see money come from all across the country, it is a blessing.

“To have the opportunity for someone to come in here and get warm … I don’t know what it would do to me to have that opportunity and not hep them, then tomorrow hear that that person had frozen to death … I don’t think I could get over it. It would be a very hard thing to live with. And I just hope God is glorified through it all,” Barbettini continued.

“We just hope everyone who comes here will feel God’s love and compassion. There are a lot of people who are searching for happiness and don’t know where to find it. Jesus Christ is the only answer. This may be just what they need to get their attention and focus on a better life.”

Barbettini said often people who come to the Warming Station are looking for that one person who will believe in them.

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A shower is mandatory for all those who seek shelter in the Warming Station.

“We’ll believe in them and give them that chance. And when they get off the street, all the people they have been hanging out with can watch them and say, ‘That person did it. I know I can do it.’ A lot of people just need a chance for someone to believe in them. Give them one more opportunity to change their life and turn it around,” he said.

Those seeking shelter at the Warming Station may sign in at the rear of the building from 6 to 8 p.m. They must have an ID and be from Pulaski County. They must not have a temperature or COVID.

The Warming Station can house up to six men on site. Up to four women seeking shelter can be served, but they will be housed two-to-a-room at a local motel.

Each person who stays in the Warming Station leaves the next day at 7 a.m.

Guests may stay up to five nights per season and are given a $10 meal card to Wendy’s, Hardees or McDonald’s each night.

Guests sign in each night on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Guests are required to take a shower. They get their meal and clean clothes. In the morning, they get a light breakfast along with snacks like granola bars to take with them along with a hygiene care package.

If they need a coat, they get one. They can also, if needed, get new underclothing, used coats, blue jeans, gloves, sweaters, toboggans, etc.

While staying at the Warming Station, Barbettini said “God’s House Rules” – displayed inside the sleeping area of the station – apply to all staying there.

“It’s been a lot of work. A lot of construction,” Barbettini said. “We wish we could have opened earlier, but at least the weather was warm and probably too warm to have been open some nights anyway.”

“This will meet a lot of needs,” Barbettini told a TV reporter during a tour of the Warming Station earlier this week.

”When you drive through Pulaski, just about every time you see a backpack on someone’s back, very often that means that person is homeless. Not every time, but a large majority of those people are homeless.

“We’ve got people sleeping outside in 20 degrees, 15 degrees, 10 degrees … at least they can come in and get warm. They can feel God’s love and God’s compassion.

“We’ve got Bibles here they can read, and we have a lot of people who come in and give their heart to Jesus Christ.

“It gives them an opportunity at a new life. A lot of them want a better life, but they just don’t know how to get there.

3 10 ws cots and chairs