Visalia Rescue Mission sees record numbers in cold weather

January 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The Visalia Rescue Mission is making sure signs outside welcome people inside when it's cold.

The city has designated the facility as a warming center when it's below 40-degrees outside at night. The Visalia Rescue Mission has 58 beds, and Monday night 110 people showed up to find a warm place to sleep.

"Not only is it sometimes dangerous out there because of the weather and health problems, but it gives them an opportunity to get in someplace and get warm. Think about it do you want to sleep outside during 40 degree or under weather?" said Morri Nash.

The Visalia Rescue Mission said this winter's cold nights have them accommodating a record number of people at these facilities. Though they don't have enough beds for everyone, many are welcome to hang out or lie down at the rescue mission's newest community center building where the temperature is set at 70-degrees.

"We do have staff that oversees it. So it is a safe environment for them, and what we're trying to do is help people who don't have a place to stay at night -- at least get out of the elements," said Nash.

Those who use the warming center at night call the Visalia Rescue Mission a blessing. "I think it saves lives. God is here. God is there inside, and the people here I'm really blessed to have," said Tony Tanner.

People who have special needs during the elements can also call the Visalia Fire Department for help.