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'Our last way to help the community': Belton American Legion 55 opens as a shelter despite closure possibility

In desperate need of supplies
Posted at 2:53 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-18 15:53:50-05

BELTON TX — As thousands go without power, and many in the community are low on food and water, a small group in Belton is making a difference.

Belton's American Legion 55 has opened its doors as a shelter, even though shutting down permanently may be imminent in the coming month for the Legion.

Days prior to the historic cold front, Matt Turner, Post Commander with American Legion 55, gathered supplies with other legion members for local homeless. Turner also made a call to Belton Police Department, saying anyone finding themselves in need could come to their legion.

"Belton doesn't have a homeless shelter or anything like that... I figure with it being this cold, homeless and people who are going to be without power are going to need to have a place to go in their local community so they don't have to go to Temple with the way the roads are," Turner explained.

Hours later, people began arriving.

Turner says people of all needs are arriving at the legions doorstep daily.

Working with a skeleton crew, the legion needs supplies and volunteers. Turner says if you can safely make it to their building, they need food, water, blankets, hygiene supplies, sleeping bags, and all hands on deck.

Turner said the Belton Police Department, Belton Fire and the Bell County Sheriffs Office have stopped by and made their shelter possible.

"Even if these people decided to stay in their home without power, these people need objects," said Turner.

This is potentially their last way to give back to their town.

"This is probably going to be our last way to help the community... I'm not going to have any money to pay the bills next month and will have to shut the doors completely," said Turner.

Since the pandemic and a shortage of funding, the American Legion 55 is realistically looking at closing their doors permanently come March.

They have a GoFundMe to help keep their doors open is you have the means.