‘We’ll make it happen:’ Apopka church opens cold weather shelter, needs help

First United Methodist Church of Apopka still seeking volunteers for shelter on Christmas Day

APOPKA, Fla. – An Apopka church is opening its doors to provide warmth and food to the area’s homeless during this weekend’s cold snap.

A nativity scene is set up inside the fellowship hall at the First United Methodist Church of Apopka. This space will turn into a cold-weather shelter this weekend.

[TRENDING: Vandals cause $1 million in damage to Volusia dam system installed after hurricanes, officials say | TIMELINE: Here’s when the bitter cold arrives in Central Florida | Become a News 6 Insider]

“There was no one that would let Mary and Joseph in. They would be a little disappointed if we didn’t open up to people in need,” Pastor John Fisher said.

Fisher said just like the reason for the season, the church is opening its doors to help the homeless in the area. They’re providing warm shelter and food to the less fortunate on Friday and Saturday nights.

Fisher said he noticed the homeless population in Apopka is growing, so the church is making sure they have a safe place to sleep during the cold weather.

“Jesus said we serve the least and lost and that’s exactly who we’re serving, the least and lost,” he said.

But Fisher said serving the least and lost during the holidays comes with challenges. The church’s normal volunteers are spending time with family or traveling. He adds the church is holding several services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the same place where people are seeking shelter.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll make it happen,” Fisher said.

Despite the challenges, the community is getting results. Fisher said new volunteers are stepping up to help run the cold weather shelter and people are dropping off donations, including clothes, blankets and food.

“It’s people pulling together, getting people who don’t normally help that are going to make this happen,” Fisher said.

The shelter opens at 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights at the church located at 201 S. Park Avenue in Apopka. Fisher said they’re still seeking volunteers to help run the shelter on Sunday night.

People can also drop off donations at the church.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily: