‘That’s what church is about:’ Lake County cold weather shelters prep as arctic blast draws near

Cold snap expected to hit Central Florida over Christmas weekend

EUSTIS, Fla. – Cold Weather shelters are set and ready for people as Lake County is set to be impacted by an artic blast throughout the weekend.

“This will turn into an area with cots, and this will be like the men’s side over here, and the other side over there will house women,” said Pastor Dann Ragan with LifePointe Church in Eustis.

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During a tour of the shelter at LifePointe Church, Ragan said there will be rooms for men, women, families — and even the sick.

“They need to be inside where it’s warm. We are not going to turn anybody away,” Ragan said.

Church members, volunteers and Lake County officials are stocked up on water and snacks, and volunteers are set to provide hot meals to those in need.

Nicholas Gerth, deputy director for Lake County’s Emergency Management, is urging people to seek resources now.

“A lot of time people will see the beautiful weather like this and think hey everything is okay, and later on that night when it dips into the mid 20′s is when we start to have some of those issues,” Gerth said.

Gerth warns northern Lake County will be impacted longer than the southern areas.

Emergency officials say historically they expect 5-20 people per shelter, but that could change.

Volunteers say that no matter the number, they will be prepared.

“That’s what church is about,” said Pasto Ragan, “It’s about reaching out and loving people who are struggling as well for those who are doing well, it’s not one or the other it’s everybody all together.”

While church members and volunteers at LifePointe Church help those in need throughout this artic blast, Lake County Fire Rescue said they are also prepared to respond in case of an emergency.

“Some of the actions we did take this year for our rural areas, we moved some tankers,” said Michael Vita, who is Lake County’s Fire Marshal. “That way, if there is a fire and there are no hydrants in the area, tankers are quicker to respond.”

Fire officials also want to remind people to remember to be cautious when warming their homes.

“Stay safe this holiday season, obviously if you are going to drink, don’t drive. We run a lot of vehicle accidents over the holiday time, and also make sure your smoke alarms are working in your home,” Vita said

LifePointe Church in Eustis as well as the Trinity Assembly of God out of Fruitland Park will remain open throughout the weekend as cold shelters.

A bus system has been set in place by Lake County for anyone who cannot get to any of the shelters. Please click here to learn more about the transit system.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.