First Baptist to serve as site of this year’s White Flag Shelter.

Through partnership with the Interactive Resource Center, our Gym will serve as an overnight, winter warming center for people experiencing homelessness in our city. The shelter opens during events of inclement weather (snow, ice, sleet, hurricanes, etc.) or when the temperature with wind chill drops to 25 degrees or below. The white flag shelter is also the only low barrier overnight shelter, meaning individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis, addiction, or other barriers that would prevent them from a traditional shelter are allowed to remain at the IRC’s white flag shelter.

In a word of thanks to First Baptist, IRC Executive Director, Michelle Kennedy said: “We are so grateful for First Baptist’s decision to uphold the cause of the poor (Ps. 82:3) by allowing the use of your gym for White Flag shelter. Quite literally, the IRC would not be able to keep folks alive during life threatening weather this winter without you all. To me, to us and to the community we serve, there is no greater example of putting your faith into action. Thank you for being true partners and for loving your neighbors as yourselves.”

As Pastor Alan Sherouse shared in this week’s e-newsletter, “People often ask, ‘Aren’t you the church with the gym?’ from the decades of people playing in pick-up games, Church Basketball League tournaments, or our Upward program. While the gym is closed to basketball and those programs are quiet this year, we’re grateful that the church with the gym can be a site in which community is shared, and through which our children can learn more about the love of Christ that invites, welcomes, and ensures the safety of all people.”

Special thanks to our Missions Committee and Deacon Task Force for supporting this effort and considering feasibility and covid safety. If you’d like to help with donations, the biggest current needs are blankets, hand/feet warmers, yoga mats and snacks (chips, cookies, breakfast bars, nuts, etc.), which can be dropped off at the covered entrance outside the Atrium. Additional white flag shelter needs can be found on the IRC’s Amazon wish list: