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Weslaco Church Opening Warming Center to Public

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WESLACO – A local pastor teamed up with the city of Weslaco to create a warming center for anyone living in the Rio Grande Valley without adequate heat.

Griselda Gomez said she loves the warmth of the Valley.

“The Valley is hot but when it gets cold um…” Gomez said.

The Donna mother told CHANNEL 5 NEWS during the few cold days the Valley sees each year, she takes extra precautions to ensure her and her son stay warm.

Gomez turns up the heater, pulls out the scarfs and blankets. She considers herself very fortunate.

“I feel bad because I know that I have my kid warm and covered and there are other people who don’t have a cover or even a roof to sleep under,” Gomez said.

Weslaco Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Antonio Lopez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS many of those less fortunate families turn to heating measures that are unsafe such as leaving stoves or ovens running for hours or burning coals indoors.

“So by doing that it’s very dangerous because you’re actually exposing you, yourself, and your family to carbon monoxide. So those type of things might get you warm for an hour two, and unfortunately the reality of it is you go to sleep and you never wake up in the morning,” Lopez explained.

Lopez said braving the cold without adequate heat may also cause complications for those with preexisting health issues.

So he and the city of Weslaco have teamed up with Pastor Steven Parker to provide a safe and warm place for the less fortunate during this cold front.

“So we are planning on opening our doors on Thursday evening we will open at 6:00 in the evening. We will do intake from 6 (p.m.) to 10 (p.m.) and folks are welcome to come and stay with us from 6:00 in the evening until 7:00 in the morning,” Packer told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Parker said a Weslaco police officer will be present to ensure the safety of everyone who visits the warming center. His church will also provide games and food.  He only asks that people bring some form of photo ID to be checked in.

“There is no charge. We just want people to come and be our honored guest come Thursday night,” Parker said.

Parker told CHANNEL 5 NEWS he and other volunteers will be putting tarps up to help families receive privacy during their stay.

If you have any questions he said you can call the First Baptist Church at 956-968-9585.

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