Homeless shelters provide warming areas & clothing for those in need

Posted at 7:21 AM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 10:54:34-05

WACO, Texas — Our homeless community has to brave the elements, every day often without shelter, which is why some local groups here in Central Texas are leaning on you to help those in need.

It's easy to overlook something as simple as having a roof over your head, but for many in our community that is a luxury that they don’t have.

“We don’t know what it’s like to be cold and homeless and have no place to go to get warmed up,” Maj. Jim Taylor, Commanding Officer for the Salvation Army in McLennan County, said.

Especially in the winter months, overnight temperatures can reach as low as the 20s.

“It just becomes almost unbearable,” Taylor said.

The Salvation Army and Mission Waco both offer warming shelters that are giving those in need a place to sleep.

“Back in December, we went back to a 24/7 model. Partly due to COVID but we were also in expectation of the cold weather as well," Carlton Willis with Mission Waco, said.

Salvation Army Shelters have room every night for those trying to escape the cold plus almost 20 extra cots that can be placed in their warming center.

“There could be a lot of people in here on any given night, depending on the temperature and what the weather is like,” Taylor said.

People can stop into the shelter or community kitchen for a snack, a warm cup of coffee, or just a place out from the cold, but the lack of warm clothing can also be dangerous.

“People that we see throughout our homeless shelter only have a hoodie or something that is not really fit for being out in the cold weather,” Taylor said.

Which is where you can help. The salvation army and mission Waco are both accepting coats and blanket donations.

“Think about what that is like if you go outside without a jacket on or a hoodie on," Taylor said. "It’s cold. Multiply that by 6,7,8,9 hours.”

And with 2021 being a difficult year for many, Willis anticipates an uptick in our homeless population.

“But I know we have had an issue with affordable housing with getting folks housed right now and being able to keep jobs,” Willis said.

But no matter how many are in need, both organizations want to make sure no one's left in the cold.

If you would like to donate or volunteer, you can contact Mission Waco or The Salvation Army.