People find hope, a shelter from cold, in Charleston church - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

People find hope, a shelter from cold, in Charleston church

Posted: Updated:
Richard Allan Pennington lives at the shelter and also volunteers his time to other homeless Charleston residents. Richard Allan Pennington lives at the shelter and also volunteers his time to other homeless Charleston residents.
CHARLESTON, West Virginia -

Richard Allan Pennington said Tuesday, "If you aint got no place to go, you gotta survive.  You have to survive the best you can.  If you don't, you're just laying down and dying, and I can't see doing that."

Men come to the Harvest Time Church of God to find a warm bed, a hot meal, and maybe a little bit of hope.

Joshua Albany is a resident at the church and an employee.  He said, "Even if there's not enough room for someone to be here, I give up my spot so that others can lay down."

Albany found his way here after moving to Charleston from Michigan.  He ended up homeless, and now is working at the shelter as well as living here.

"I see many different faces coming throughout that door every day," he said.  "Most of the people, they look rough, beat up.  They look like they would attack you, but they're actually the ones afraid of being attacked. 

"I guess you could call me one of those New York West Virginia hillbillies," Pennington said. 

When Pennington's family moved here from up North, it was about making a new life, but after his parent's passed away, Pennington lost his home.  Now he's here at the church.

Despite his current position, he still says the most important thing is to give back.  "If somebody needs help, they need help," he said.  "Sometimes you can't get no one to help you, just I just volunteer myself."

The gentlemen are out of the cold, thanks to an organization that is giving to them while they return the favor.  For Pennington, he said he has a special trick to keeping warm.  "It really don't hurt to laugh.  It'll do you good.  It'll even make you feel better.  I'll even warm you up in your heart."

The church's pastor said to run this facility it takes about $3,000.00 per month, that's only 30 people a month giving $100.00 per month, 60 people a month giving $50.00 per month or 120 people a month to give $25.00 per month.

He said, "no gift is to small it all adds up in the end."  Over the past five years, he said, the church has have sheltered over 14,000 sheltered nights, has fed in the high 200,000 hot meals, and has given away over 500,000 pounds of food.

He added that the church is a 501c3, and in turn, all donations are tax deductible.