CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. - A new warming shelter in Castro Valley opened just in time as temperatures dip into the 30's across the Bay Area Thursday night.
Volunteers at the First Presbyterian Church of Hayward offered a hot meal and a warm welcome on this cold winter night.
They've offered meals on Sunday's for a while but knew there was a need for shelters during the cold and rainy season.
"A lot of the waiting lists were full and the best you could do is say a prayer and give them a blanket so we thought, 'what can we do that would help people this year?," said Chizu Buckalew, First Presbyterian Church of Hayward.
They're opening their gym as a warming shelter on nights when the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Alameda County is funding 50 nights.
"Never thought I'd in a million years I'd be in this position, but here I am," said George Cardoza, who lives in Castro Valley. He fell on hard times in 2010 losing homes and businesses. Now, he lives in a tent taking his three dogs everywhere. Tonight he'll be warm staying at the shelter."
"In this weather right now it means everything especially for my dogs," said Cardoza.
"We don't want to see anyone who's a part of this community essentially die because it's so cold out," said Buckalew.
In San Leandro people rushed to Evergreen Nursery to protect plants from frost damage.
"I'd hate to see it wilt in this weather. We're not used to this weather. It's terrible," said Margret Palia as she purchased wilt protecting spray for her bougainvillea plant.
Landscaper Larry Mendes says he's concerned when temps dip into the 30's. They're trying to protect inventory at the nursery.
"Like the cactus and succulents we have to bring them in. We brought a bunch of them in already," said Mendes. If it stays cold they'll move the citrus trees inside too.
He recommends spray-on wilt protector or covering delicate plants with fabric so the frost doesn't reach them.
Back at the church volunteers could use some help. Donations of sleeping bags, socks, jackets, and other supplies would be appreciated. You can contact Chizu Buckalew at: firstname.lastname@example.org.