Churches and Christian institutions across Texas have opened their doors to citizens in need of shelter as the state experiences abnormally cold weather.
According to MSNBC News affiliate KCEN-TV, Christian groups have opened up warming stations in at least five Central Texas counties.
Among the churches opening their doors as warming stations is Joel Osteen’s Houston-based megachurch, Lakewood Church.
According to The Christian Post, a spokesperson for the church told the outlet that the church opened its doors on Sunday, and plans to stay open as long as people are in need of shelter.
“Approximately a dozen people arrived last night, and we expect more today with power outages,” the spokesperson told The Christian Post on Sunday.
“We are working with the Harris County Sherriff’s department and local homeless organizations to be available.
We have beds, blankets and other supplies. No one will be turned away.”
In Temple, Texas, First United Methodist Church has also invited those without power, water, and other utilities to seek refuge at their church.
The Church is providing meals and cots to those who choose to seek shelter there.
In Waco, Texas, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church is welcoming residents without power at their church, which is also serving as one of the city’s official warming stations.
Residents are welcomed to stay overnight. The church is observing COVID-19 guidelines.
St. Luke Episcopal Church in Denison, Texas is also serving as a warming station for residents in need, The Christian Post reports.
According to the local 12 News station, on Thursday the church began providing shelter and hot meals to those in need of a place to stay.
Father Don Perschell told the news outlet that they are happy to serve the community, noting that
“They are part of our family, we are part of them.
They know us, they know this is a safe place to be.”
Two years ago, the church decided to open a warming center because they wanted to serve those in their community who had no place to go to escape frigid temperatures.
The center, 12 News reports, is completely funded by church donations.
“When they arrive, if they don’t have a mask, we’re going to give them a mask,” Perschell said.
“They’re going to be given an opportunity to find a space here in the hall and they won’t have to worry about somebody crowding in.”
Texas has been experiencing record low temperatures and icy weather causing power outages across the state.
According to The Dallas Morning News, as of February 16, more than 3 million people were reported to be without power.
The widespread outages began on Monday and have persisted due to increasingly harsh weather.