South Bend church serving as warming center; formerly homeless man helps others

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - With these bone-chilling temperatures, homeless individuals are left with limited options to stay warm during the day.

Many said they rely on the St. Joseph County Public Library to keep them warm during the winter months; but as many know, it is currently closed for renovations.

"People don't have anywhere to go. There is nowhere to go where you can warm up," said Andrew Snyder, the pastor of Miracle Revival Church.

"Everything will kick them out after so many hours of being there, especially if they don't have the money to buy anything to sit there," said LaShaunte Todd, who is currently homeless.

Snyder and others decided to step in to help. They said it is about loving their neighbor.

In the church basement, they put in a winter warming center.

"A lot of them have got issues and problems, and it's hard for them to cope. Their coping skills are not necessarily the best, so we are trying to educate them, trying to help them come out of their mess," Snyder said.

The warming center opened a couple days ago and is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. The pastor said he will keep it open as long as needed.

Church members like Kenneth Randolph cleaned up the basement and brought down some space heaters.

But the story does not end there. The real story is about how a little generosity can make a world of difference and can be a real game changer in someone's life.

Randolph, now an independent man, knows this firsthand. He used to be homeless, until a South Bend couple decided to step in and help.

"They let me live with them. They fed me. They clothed me. They took care of me," Randolph said.

Now, he is paying it forward.

"All I can say is Ken has been a savior to me," Todd said.

Todd moved back to South Bend about six months ago.

"I was walking down the street with a bag of clothes," Todd said.

That is when Randolph noticed her and decided to take her in.

"He was just like, 'I can't see a woman in your circumstances sitting out here like this,'" Todd said.

"God works through people, and I saw a person in need and I had a place. I don't see how people can have homes and not have a heart for people who are out here homeless," Randolph said.

Snyder said they are in need of a new furnace.

The church is an old building, and they are putting in a lot of work to make it usable.

They will also be starting a food bank soon and could use food donations. People interested in making donations can hand-deliver donations to the church at 415 West LaSalle Ave. Ask for Andrew Snyder.

The church is working on a GoFundMe page.