Herndon Church Hosts 'Hypothermia Program,' Takes in Homeless on Cold Winter Nights

Over 250 local adults and children are helping to make it happen.

Volunteers prepare a meal for homeless they have invited into the Floris United Methodist Church to come in from the cold on winter nights this week. (Courtesy Photo)
Volunteers prepare a meal for homeless they have invited into the Floris United Methodist Church to come in from the cold on winter nights this week. (Courtesy Photo)
With the icy temperatures the local area has been experiencing lately, it brings to mind those who don't have a warm and toasty home to bundle up in at night.

One Herndon church is helping to change that for local homeless people.

Floris United Methodist Church13600 Frying Pan Road in the Oak Hill area, is hosting a Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program in partnership with the Fairfax County-area nonprofit organization FACETS to bring in people off the streets at nighttime and give them a warm place to sleep and food in their bellies.

Each night between Jan. 12-19, the church is transforming its large fellowship hall into the "Floris Guest House."

Between 5:30 p.m. and 7 a.m., up to 40 people will be served a hot dinner, allowed to take a shower, and given a warm bed to sleep in. In the morning, they are served a hot breakfast, and even given a packed lunch to take with them when they leave.

There is also a large coat closet in the guest house where they can "shop" for warm coats and other winter essentials, all donated by church and community members.

"We have a great and very generous and giving community here at Floris United," said Jake McGlothin, a director at the church.

Evening activities are also offered to the nightly guests, such as a reading area and more.

Over 250 Floris UMC members and friends, age 14 and older, have been volunteering in a variety of capacities, including meal preparation and service, transportation, evening activity coordination, and more, McGlothin said.

"FACETS staff and Floris volunteers have really worked together to create a warm environment so our guests truly feel welcome in our church home," said Floris volunteer Laurie Tillet.

FACETS has been hosting the Hypothermia Prevention and Response program in partnership with various area churches for the past five to six years. After visiting another church that hosted the program previously, and talking it over with other church leaders, McGlothin they knew it would be a great thing for Floris UMC to do for the community.

"Our church has been actively engaged in assisting individuals for many years, but this is a program we'd never been a part of," he said. "We decided this would be an excellent opportunity for us to serve our community."

Now that the week-long program is well underway, he added, it's been as wonderful an experience as they expected.

"It's been great, and an honor to serve our community this way, and to partner with FACETS, which is a really great organization," he said.

For more information, visit www.florisumc.org and http://facetscares.org.


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Matt January 17, 2014 at 06:55 AM
It's great to hear Floris UMC is helping out some of our less fortunate neighbors! I had not heard of FACETS before. Thanks for highlighting the program!
Jo-Ann Scichilone January 19, 2014 at 08:16 AM
My church, Messiah UMC in Springfield, has been working with FACETS for many years with the Hypothermia program. We host them the week between Christmas and New Years. Many many members cook, serve and in some cases like my husband, spend the night at the church with them. It's an awesome program and an honor to serve.
Darla anderson January 19, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Our church, Emmanuel Lutheran in Vienna, hosted the hypothermia guests the week of New Years & enjoy being able to reach out to local folks in need. It is a very worthwhile program and sad to see that so many people in Fairfax county are homeless.
Suzanne Czernik Stierwalt January 19, 2014 at 08:29 PM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Falls Church is eagerly awaiting our turn to host these amazing guests! It's a wonderful opportunity to share God's love with the community and to live into our Baptismal vocation.


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