While First Baptist Church’s White Flag Ministry provides shelter to those in need on exceptionally cold nights, its resources are limited, forcing the tipping point to be set at 29 degrees.
In an effort to assist those who need stay warm when the ministry is not available, the Tri-County Elks Lodge has partnered with the ministry by securing a $2,000 grant to purchase heavy duty sleeping bags.
Tina Hyde with the Elks Lodge in Corbin, said the lodge was able to secure the grant through the Elks National Foundation.
The foundation is funded with membership dues paid by Elks across the country.
“We felt it was a great need,” Hyde said adding that most of the grants are for $2,000.
“We are honored and thrilled that they would think to partner with us in such a way,” said Austin Carty, pastor at First Baptist Church.
Lynn Tipton, Chair of the White Flag Ministry Committee at the church, said officials at the Elks Club notified her in December of their intent to apply for the grant.
Tipton said on any given night the ministry is providing 25 to 30 rooms at a local hotel. With the colder temperatures, that number has risen to as high as 36.”
This week we will peek,” Tipton said.
Tipton said in addition to nights were the temperature doesn’t fall to 29 degrees, there have been instances where individuals have been taken to the hotel, only to be asked to leave because of their behavior.
In each of those instances, the sleeping bags may provide another option to help someone in need.
“Quality sleeping bags will go a long way in insulating them,” Carty said.
Tipton said the ministry is currently on stable financial footing, but additional donations are always welcome and appreciated.
Donations may be dropped off at the First Baptist Church office, or at the neighboring Tipton and Tipton Law Office.
The ministry is a 501c3 organization, so donations are tax deductible.
“That is how we sustain the ministry,” Tipton said of donations adding that plans call for the ministry to provide the rooms through March 15 when the weather tends to remain above freezing.
“If we need to go further, we can,” Tipton said. “We have enough money. The outpouring from the community has just been amazing.”
In addition, Tipton said the ministry is in constant need of winter items, including caps, scarves, gloves and coats, along with socks and underwear.
While other clothing is appreciated, Tipton noted that Central Baptist Church in Corbin distributes clothing through its Matthew Ministry.
In addition, Tipton said the White Flag Ministry would continue to provide hot meals each night throughout the week at the former Rainbow House on Roy Kidd Ave.
At the beginning of each weekend, the ministry provides a sack of food to ensure those in need have something to eat.
Any group or organization that would be interested in preparing a meal one night, may contact Tipton at 524-4111.
“We have February taken care of, but we have spots available in March,” Tipton said.