As record-breaking cold weather is expected days before Christmas, The Salvation Army balances efforts to raise money (in the final week of its largest annual fundraising campaign), open warming stations, and expand shelter capacity for the expected increase in sheltering needs. In fact, staff and volunteers in many locations are now actively working behind the scenes and moving resources to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities from hypothermia and frostbite, which can occur in under 30 minutes of exposure.
While you won’t see many bellringers over the next few days because of the dangerous weather conditions, The Salvation Army units across Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi still need community support to help provide our neighbors in crisis with warm meals, warm beds, and financial assistance for this holiday crisis and throughout the year. The Salvation Army depends on holiday giving for more than 50-60% of its annual operating budget on average, which supports programs including shelter assistance, food and meal services, emergency financial aid, youth programs, and more.
We asked some of our local Salvation Army leaders how they were meeting cold-weather needs in their communities—read their responses below.
As services differ by location, please contact your local Salvation Army if you or someone you know needs assistance.
Whenever the weather dips below 37° and temperatures are considered life-threatening, The Salvation Army Jim Ingram Lodge at 527 Carnation St. opens its doors and expands its capacity to welcome anyone in need. Overflow cold shelter is open for men, women, and families experiencing homelessness during severe weather. In addition, the Community Center is also available during the day with two hot daily meals, snacks, hydration, and resources to support people getting off the street and accessing needed practical resources.
The Salvation Army will expand its shelter hours to 24-hour shifts beginning Thursday/Friday through at least Monday (12/26). Extra cots will be secured to expand occupancy beyond the current 34 beds limitation.
A warming station will be available in the shelter lobby for non-residents to warm up, use the restroom, and enjoy food and something warm to drink. Residents will be able to remain inside throughout the day.
The shelter is open to men and women anytime the temperature drops below 39° degrees at night. If the temperature doesn’t rise above 32° degrees during the day, the shelter will remain open for a warming shelter during the day.
MS GULF COAST:
The Salvation Army Mississippi Gulf Coast opens a Cold Weather Shelter whenever the temperature is 35° or below based on the National Weather Service prediction. The Center of Hope plans to be open Thursday – Sunday, from 6 pm -8 am.
The Salvation Army of Monroe will be open 24/7 with their cold-weather shelter operation in full effect until the weather rises above 40° and the rain stops.
The Salvation Army is preparing to open its facility as a warming shelter. Check-in will be from 1:00 to 3 o’clock Thursday- Saturday and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, as facility occupancy allows. Cots will be available in the gymnasium and fellowship hall.
The organization is asking for donations of sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, gloves, and warm hats for clients.
Walker County Service Center is opening a warming center with groceries, cots, and blankets. Also, each person will receive a backpack filled with personal hygiene essentials, gloves, and a toboggan, while supplies last.