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The Salvation Army’s Extreme Emergency Cold Weather Shelter has been open since Wednesday. And this isn’t the first time this season it’s been open. 74 people stayed there last night, according to the Salvation Army’s social services director Jeff Smith. He says they’ve seen more and more of the homeless take advantage this year of the shelter.
According to Smith, this is the busiest cold weather season they’ve seen in several years.
"Already we've been open 19 days, and we've already surpassed the number we served last year," he said.
244 individuals have been served so far this season compared to 231 during the entire previous winter.
The shelter is open 24 hours a day when needed and offers a place to sleep, a hot breakfast and shower facilities. Those who stay there are bused to other locations for lunch and dinner. Keeping it open, Davis says, costs money.
"We staff it with staff and volunteers, and we're feeding people, we're transporting people, we're taking care of their needs, so, of course, this increases the demand on our monetary needs, so any and all monetary donations are very much appreciated at this time," he said.
Volunteers are needed, too, he says, to work four to eight-hour shifts in the cold weather shelter.
Major Norman Grainger, with the Salvation Army, says the Red Kettle Campaign, which goes through the end of January, is falling short of its goal so far. The money raised during the campaign allows the Salvation Armyto help individuals throughout the year.
"About a third of our Red Kettle bell ringing season was affected by either cold weather or actually snow accumulation, so we had volunteers not be able to ring at those Red Kettle locations. That sort of impacted--put a dent in our fundraising," he said.
75% of the $965,000 goal has been reached. You can still contribute to the campaign by donating online or sending a donation to the Salvation Army.
To find out how you can help at the Cold Weather Shelter, call 862-5509, ext. 112.