Winter warming shelter provides more than a place to stay

Winter warming shelter provides more than a place to stay

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Warming shelters are filling up across the Lowcountry as the temperatures continue to fall.

The shelter at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in North Charleston is providing more than a warm place.
U.S. Army Veteran Donald Phillips knows what it's like to not have a place to stay.

"Sometime back I was homeless and gosh that's a terrible place to be," Phillips said.

Then he found Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

"This church has opened their arms to me," Phillip said. "I had no food, I had no blankets, I had no bed, nothing not even a chair to sit in."

It provides a warm shelter with beds, hot food and a hot shower on winter days that get below 36 degrees. Guests can also take clothes if they need it and there's an optional devotion. 

Carolyn Amaro is the co-coordinator of the warming shelter. 

"It really does something for them, you see them the ones that wouldn't talk in the beginning by the end of the night they are talking and smiling and even joking a little bit," Amaro said.

Amaro has seen a lot of transformation during her two years in the ministry, like Phillips  who turned his life around after being a guest.

"I have a bed, I have a couch I have chairs, I have a TV," Phillips said.

He's now a shelter volunteer and has gained more than his own place to live.

"The Lord is with me," he said. "I have a different outlook on life I just can't say enough about this church, it's fulfilled something that's been missing in my life for so long." 

Amaro says it's a blessing for her to be a part of the ministry.

"It's just absolutely amazing and it just fills my heart with warmth to see how these people are doing," Amaro said. 

Phillips says it's good to be helping others.

"I'm helping other people and I can't tell you how good that makes me feel," he said." It just brings a smile on my face to see someone that's cold and hungry like I was, I been there, but to see the satisfaction when they leave here."

The church also provides resources to help people improve their lives. 

"Their arms are open to everyone including you," Phillips said.

The church is in need of more durable sleeping arrangements. Right now they are providing air mattresses that aren't holding up as good as they would like. They're hoping to get enough donations to provide cots for those staying there. 

If you're interested in donating here is the information:

  • Text-to-Give: Text SHELTER to 206-859-9405
  • Online Gifts: Go to, click GiveShelter
  • Hotline: 843-990-2968

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.