Winter weather can make life even more challenging for the Lynchburg area’s homeless and food-insecure populations. To help manage these needs, local organizations serving the homeless have contingency plans in case of snow or cold weather.
When temperatures drop below 40 degrees, the Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg offers shelter to anyone in need — whether they are temporarily homeless or having heating issues in their home — at its Center of Hope, located at 2211 Park Ave., said Tammy Shank, director of development for Lynchburg’s Salvation Army.
“We want people to know that there’s a place that they can go so they won’t freeze,” she said. “We’re here to help, we’re here to serve. It’s our mission to do that. We want to create an environment where they feel like they can come here at any time.”
The Salvation Army’s cold shelter at the Center of Hope is a 24-hour emergency shelter, meaning people can seek refuge day or night. Visitors are welcome to stay for up to a week.
“If they see that their stay is going to extend beyond seven days, then we will start working with them to try to find a permanent solution to their situation, whether that is housing or whether we can help them with their bill situation, we look to try to help them fix that challenge,” Shank explained.
While at the shelter, guests are served breakfast and dinner through the community feeding program, which also is open to anyone in the community needing a meal. To support this mission, the Salvation Army is in need of breakfast cereal, oatmeal, milk, juice, and Styrofoam products like plates and bowls, said Jamie Warrick, residential program manager at Center of Hope. The center requests donations of clean, gently-used pillows, washcloths, and towels with no bodily stains as well.
The cold shelter “definitely” sees increased traffic during winter weather, Shank said, and although it typically has 50 beds, itcan accommodate anyone who needs a place to stay.
“We don’t turn people away from our cold weather shelter,” she emphasized.
If all beds are full, staff members will set up temporary cots in the Center of Hope cafeteria and chapel.
The Salvation Army has served the Lynchburg community for over 110 years, Shank said, and the organization has helped “thousands” of people in need through its various programs, including sheltering and community feeding.