POCATELLO – With the cold temperatures that Pocatello has recently seen comes the need for warming shelter, and the First Congregational United Church of Christ ensures a cozy one for the masses.
Those in need of a place to warm up from the fragile elements can find a daytime drop-in shelter in the church’s gym at 309 N. Garfield Ave., open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The warming shelter also offers light meals such as soup and snacks and will offer hot drinks such as coffee and tea. In addition, Pastor Starr Reardon explained that the church can also provide some entertainment with movies or basketball, and that sleeping bags are available for those who need one.
“Basically, we just give someone a break from the air,” Reardon said.
The church has run a warming shelter for the past three years and houses a thrift store in the church’s basement that allows individuals to purchase much-needed items at a low price.
Although the church is not equipped to run full-time with lunches, they strive to provide the resources they can to the public, as well as offer a safe haven from the cold of the winter season. They also hope to help those who may fall through the cracks, such as people who are immediately released from prison.
“The new Aid for Friends shelter is just amazing, but sometimes it’s not open to accommodating an extra man or an extra woman, so we have to make sure we always have a vacancy,” Reardon said. “When people get out of prison, they can not get directly into a shelter from the prison. They must have a cooling period, a 24 hour period. So often that’s what heating shelters are good for. … So we always try to have something available. “
Reardon said they will continue to have a drop-in heating home during the day until First Baptist Church at 408 N. Arthur Ave. get their Valley Mission permanent shelter up and running, which is still being formed and developed.
“We feel it is our calling and the calling of every church to take care of the poor,” Reardon said. “We do not do it in a religious way, we do not preach to people who come in, but we feel that it is a calling for any Christian church to take care of the poor. … Caring for people must come first. If you look at the Old Testament, God focuses throughout on the poor and the marginalized. He has a heart for the poor. And if we are to imitate God in any way, it should be to take care of our neighbors that way. “
The warming shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The church also hosts Alcoholics Anonymous from Monday to Friday at For more information, visit their Facebook page at First Congregational United Church of Christ – Pocatello or call 208-232-3056.