People find warmth at Boutwell Auditorium - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

People find warmth at Boutwell Auditorium

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Many showed up to the Boutwell Auditorium warming station as temperatures in Birmingham dip below 32 degrees Saturday night. (abc3340.com) Many showed up to the Boutwell Auditorium warming station as temperatures in Birmingham dip below 32 degrees Saturday night. (abc3340.com)
Two men staying warm inside Boutwell Auditorium. (abc3340.com) Two men staying warm inside Boutwell Auditorium. (abc3340.com)

Birmingham City leaders are expecting tonight to be the busiest this week at the warming station set up at Boutwell Auditorium.

Since the auditorium opened its doors Wednesday night for shelter... hundreds of people have utilized it each night and thousands of donations have been dropped to keep people comfortable.

It's a night where the cold is almost too much for some to bare. A night, Antonio Travis, is thankful to be here at Boutwell Auditorium. "It really does help you get out of the cold."

With temperatures expected to dip into the teens in some places.. The city of Birmingham wants to make sure those without heat can find refuge. Don Lupo, Director of the Mayor's Office Citizens Assistance, says "They'll be some people here tonight who have a home, but they can't afford their power bill and can't afford water or sewer."

Since this warming station opened Wednesday night, the community has dropped off endless donations from clothes to food to toothbrushes... So many in fact, Lupo has sent truck loads of items to agencies helping families in need. "This bigger community out there is, they're amazing, they're amazing."

Antonio Travis says "I was able to get a couple pair of socks. I always require socks cause I do work where I get my feet wet a lot, have to keep them clean. I really appreciate the socks."

And some people grabbing a bite to eat and a place to sleep are also giving back. Lupo says "A man and his wife that stayed last night and were mopping the floors and another man had already cleaned both bathrooms."

Lupo says a network of supporters help make this possible.. extending generosity to some who say they don't know how they would warm without it. Chris Edwards has already stayed several nights. "It's good cause people are going through hard times and need help. I'm glad people are doing stuff like this."

Lupo says the warming station will not be open Sunday night, but depending on next week's weather Mayor William Bell could announce the next plan of action on Monday.

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