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Freezing Temps Mean More Draw on Charities

By Daniel Cherry | Published 04 Jan 2013 07:10pm | comments
Mississippi charities are asking for help in caring for the homeless as nighttime temperatures dip below freezing in many areas of the state. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, blankets and cold weather gear top their list of needs.
 
Nancy Flowers is with We Will Go Ministries in downtown Jackson. She's showing the inside of a small building where she keeps clothes and blankets for those in need. Flowers says the big need now is for blankets and sleeping bags.
 
"We hand them out as fast as we get them. We don't ever seem to have enough. Sleeping bags...I'm looking at one with one that has Toy Story on there, and you'll see a grown man with a Toy Story sleeping bag because he wants to be warm more than he cares what it looks like."
 
When temperatures fall below freezing, many organizations open emergency shelters to get people off the streets. Captain Ken Chapman with the Jackson Salvation Army says they're also going out looking for those who couldn't make it to their shelter.
 
"We know where people live under the houses and under the bridges and other places where the homeless get together. We give them a warm meal. We give them warm blankets, some sleeping bags, as well as coats. So we always have a great need for that and for non-perishable foods."
 
The Salvation Army's Jackson shelter is already at capacity,and their social services are being strained as well. Chapman says demand for their programs to help pay for heating bills and space heaters is up by 38 percent over last year.
 
"We're 3rd year into this recession, and we're finding that people have run out of resources. Unemployment benefits have run out. Family resources have run out. Their family savings have run out, and we are their last resort. So we're trying to meet those needs."
 
There are 7 emergency shelters open statewide operated by the Salvation Army.
 

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