A couple of weeks ago, a young mother with a 9-month-old walked into First United Methodist Church in downtown Madison. She was homeless and had stayed the prior two nights at the Salvation Army shelter. But on this night, the shelter was full and she had no place to go. It was a familiar scenario, one that underscored the importance of what the church was working toward, said Karen Andro, the church’s director of outreach ministries. Beginning Monday, First United Methodist will serve as an overflow shelter five nights a week for homeless families. “When people ask me why we would want to do this, I say, ‘Why wouldn’t we?’” Andro said. “Every child should have a welcoming, comfortable and safe place to sleep.”The church, just off the Capitol Square at 203 Wisconsin Ave., will convert a large youth activity room into sleepingquarters for up to 30 adults and children. A second, smaller room can be pressed into service for an additional large family, perhaps one with a newborn or a special-needs child. In total, the church will have space for about three dozen people. Like many downtown churches, First United Methodist has a long history of outreach to the homeless. It cooks a community breakfast for the homeless every Wednesday, and it operates a busy food pantry. It already serves as an overflow shelter for homeless single men from Nov. 1 to March 31, in the same space that now will be used for homeless families during the rest of the year. Click here to read more from the Wisconsin State Journal.