Sunday, March 3

Fort Pierce cold weather shelter providing welcoming warmth

If you’re in Fort Pierce and you or someone you know needs a place to stay during the cold snap, an emergency warming shelter is open this weekend.

With temperatures on the Treasure Coast expected to be in the mid-40s, Percy Peek Gym is making sure those in need have a warm place to stay and also a hot meal.

Warren Stapleton was the first to use one of the 100 spots available at the shelter through the weekend.

“When you heard about the weather this weekend what went through your mind?” asked WPTV reporter Joel Lopez.

“I’m gonna freeze to death sleeping out in a wheelchair with shorts and a T-shirt on,” Stapleton said.

He said a work-related accident left him homeless.

“I’m trying to get back on my feet and get things moving again, but it’s really difficult when you’re on your own, handicapped and disabled and trying to get some help,” Stapleton said.

As the sun went down in Fort Pierce on Friday, Dominque Cain-Douglas with the “In the Image of Christ” nonprofit helped to transform the gym into a cold weather shelter.

“We’re here for the community for us to be open providing shelter, hot showers, breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Cain-Douglas said.

They said this is a resource they’ve provided for more than 10 years. However, they need donations for items like hygiene products, towels and clothes so people like Stapleton can stay warm.

“So they put me out this nice Columbia long-sleeve shirt, and it’s perfect for me,” Stapleton said.

They said walk-ins are welcome and the Treasure Coast Homeless Council will be stopping by to offer long-term services to help people get back on their feet.

“This is not just a shelter,” Cain-Douglas said. “We actually try our best to make people feel welcome, to make them feel at home and as we are a family.”

Click here for more on shelter hours and transportation information.

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