Panama City Rescue Mission shielding many from the cold

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Oftentimes, with nowhere to go the homeless are left out in the cold. Luckily, the Panama City Rescue Mission is taking them in.

"This place here is a blessing," Alfred Brown said.

Alfred has been staying at the Rescue Mission like many others, so he doesn't have to sleep out in the cold.

"They're not letting nobody stay outside, and it's cold," Alfred said.

Frigid temperatures have led many seeking warmth to the Mission's doors.

"They feed them excellent and they have great meals and they've been putting people wherever they can for them to sleep," Alfred said.

Workers are doing their best to house the increased number of visitors lately.

"Well, we don't turn anyone away. We only have so many mats that we can hand out, but after mats, we'll give them two or three blankets," Joseph Brown, a Rescue Mission employee said, "so they can still make a place to lay and cover up and stay warm for the night."

The Mission also hands out clothing to protect the homeless from the icy weather.

"Blue jeans, and gloves and hats, and blankets, we try to stock that up and have an extra supply of that when the cold weather comes," Joseph explained.

Were it not for the Rescue Mission, many may have been forced to fend for themselves, braving the elements.

"[I would've been] up under a tree, [or] in jail, it's the truth," Alfred said. "If it wasn't for the Mission and it wasn't for what they was doing, who can say where they'll be."

Alfred said the hospitality the Panama City Rescue Mission has shown he and others are appreciated.

"The new year is coming in wonderful, you know the Lord is blessing everybody, you know and he's blessing me," Alfred said, "and that's why I appreciate these fellas here at the Mission."

According to employees with the First United Methodist Church in Panama City, the church has also opened a cold weather shelter for women and children. The shelter will stay open through the night until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.