Holy City Missions looking to raise $1.5M to expand warming shelter, food pantry

With temperatures expected to drop below freezing, warming shelters are opening across the Lowcountry, including one in North Charleston.
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 3:31 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2022 at 8:50 PM EST
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With temperatures expected to drop below freezing, warming shelters are opening across the Lowcountry, including one in North Charleston that says they need to expand.

Volunteers with Holy City Missions, who operate a warming shelter at Aldersgate United Methodist Church off Remount Road, said they are expecting a full house over the weekend due to the temperatures.

Holy City Missions said they can take in just under 80 people, but they are doing so while having little to no room for food, clothes and restrooms for people seeking shelter.

Organizers said the need to support the less fortunate grows every year, along with the number of people they help, but the number fluctuates due to weather.

Last year was their busiest when they housed over 800 people over 23 nights.

MORE: Warming shelters to open Christmas weekend

The next highest year was in 2018 when they housed 625 people over 17 nights. A snowstorm hit the area that year, and the city of Charleston banned sitting and lying down on some downtown sidewalks.

However, organizers said the law does not factor in too much because people experiencing homelessness typically stay in one area because they know what resources are available.

Leaders said they are looking to raise $1.5 million through either donations, grants or public dollars to buy or build a new facility to house more people year-round and expand their soup kitchen and food pantry.

“We don’t have showers for unhoused persons here,” Board Member Elizabeth Sullivan said. “We don’t really even have bathrooms in this facility, so they have trailers that are outside. It’s just not ideal. It’s just really tight. You could look over in the kitchen, and when you think of the number of people who are served out of that, it becomes really cramped.”

The city of North Charleston has rented bathroom trailers for the shelter to use and has also provided additional trash cans throughout the property.

Holy City Missions said they have partnered with CARTA for free bus rides to the shelter up until 9 p.m.

People can start checking into the shelter starting at 7 p.m., and organizers said they will be open every night through Monday.

For a complete list of warming shelters opening over the course of the weekend, click here.