The Bridge Christian Church opened its doors Wednesday to allow people to seek respite from the bitter cold temperatures.
The church offered a place for people to come in, have a cup of hot chocolate, some soup and even get a coat if necessary, according to Pastor James Bookhout.
Temperatures on Thursday reached a low of 5 degrees below zero and a high of 8 degrees, according to Joe Cebulko, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, Bookhout says, that's when they provide a warming station.
This is the third year the church has helped those looking to get out of the cold. Bookhout said they had one person come in on Wednesday and had three people come in on Thursday.
“We have to clothe and feed them, just like Jesus taught in the scripture,” Bookhout said. “You need to help those in need.”
Billy Kid, 21, said he had walked by the church several times before, but when he saw the sign for free cookies and hot chocolate, he decided to poke his head in.
Kid praised the church for helping out those in need. “It’s great,” Kid said. “It takes a big heart to do that.” The church will be open as long as the cold streak lasts, Bookhout said. According Cebulko, that could last until the middle of next week.
Bookhout sees people as “prized gifts,” and wants to continue to treat them that way. “It’s about serving people,” Bookhout said. The church’s doors are open from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. each day, but Bookhout said they will extend their hours if necessary.
“If they’re coming, we’ll stay open,” he said.