New Florence shelter keeps people warm during freezing temperatures

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Courtney McGinnis Graham Community shelter opened last year in honor of one local woman’s dream to help those in need.

With this weekend’s freezing temperatures the dedicated staff is making sure that her dream is fulfilled.

The newest shelter here in the city of Florence is committed to making sure everyone has a place to stay especially when the temperatures are below freezing.

Deborah Liebhauser and her fiancé walked 3 miles to avoid sleeping outside in the cold and rainy weather.

Liebhauser said, “They opened their doors. They kept me warm and feed me…I’m grateful for that.”

“Thank God the homeless shelter was here… or else I’d freeze,” Liehauser adds.

Years ago she helped the homeless and she never thought she would be receiving the help.

“My pride before would not allow me to reach out. But you just get to a point when you have to ask for help. If there are people there. Just take it. Don’t take advantage but just take it,” she explained.

This is the first time the shelter has experienced continuous freezing overnight temperatures. Shelter manager Brock Spivey says they have emergency cots available if the 40 beds are full.

Spivey explained, “Our desire is to make sure no one is out in this weather in the cold because it is so dangerous.”

Spivey says the men’s side of the shelter filled all of the 12 beds last night– David Lucas slept in one of those beds and he says the shelter is a blessing.

LUCAS said, “It doesn’t make me feel like someone is giving back to me… It’s more like God is blessing me to be here.”

The shelter hopes to help each person get back on their feet because that is what Courtney McGinnis Graham would have wanted.

“Her legacy still lives on through this place and through the lives that we touch,” Spivey adds.

The shelter is always in need of food items and hygiene products. Now they need more coats and blankets.

The shelter opens everyday staff accepts 12 men, 10 women and 3 families each day from 4pm – 7pm. The beds are 1st come 1st serve but emergency cots are available to make sure everyone has a bed.