Warming bus helps people in need this winter

Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 10:07 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - “We’re just trying to give people an opportunity to live until there’s some type of breakthrough in their circumstances,” said Dawn Sandoval, founder of The Least of These Ministry.

It’s no secret the dangers of being outdoors for an extended period of time throughout the winter, especially for those without a home to go to.

“We started operating this bus for that reason, because there were people that were sleeping on porches and in the woods,” said Sandoval.

For the second year in a row, The Least of These Ministry is making sure people in need have a place to go through its warming bus. Sandoval said it’s a need that has grown from 2021.

“Well, this year already, we’ve been having the bus pretty much full on a pretty regular basis,” said Sandoval.

When temperatures are below 40 degrees, people are able to get on at 9 p.m. and stay until 6:30 a.m. For those that use it, they don’t know what they’d do without it.

“It’s a relief, honestly. It takes a lot of stress off knowing that there is somewhere that you can go that’s safe,” said Michael Durch, who uses the warming bus every night it’s open.

The Least of These Ministry’s operations don’t come without challenges.

“Diesel fuel is close to $5 a gallon and we’re idling that bus 10 and a half hours a night,” said Sandoval.

The organization is always looking for support in any way the community can provide it. For more information on TLOT, you can find its website here and Facebook here.