Warming shelter, clothing donations among Golden Triangle’s efforts to help those in need before freezing weather

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Tuesday night, the Golden Triangle Regional Homeless Coalition opened its temporary warming shelter in anticipation of the freezing temperatures expected to hit the area.

“There’s children, there’s elderly, there are people with disabilities that just cannot make it on the streets,” says Susan Garton, the coalition’s vice president.

The shelter inside the Propst Park Recreational Building will be available for the rest of the week from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.

“(Temperatures of) 36 and below are actually close to frostbite weather,” Garton says. “We would much rather have people be sheltered. Citizens and needy families. Be with us and be safe and warm and fed.”

Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing late Thursday afternoon and stay that way until at least midday on Friday.

Garton also says it’s not just those experiencing homelessness who need somewhere to go.

“The needy families and the individuals that don’t have running water or electricity to heat water or to have things like that, that is on the rise,” she says.

But not everyone has the option of walking to the shelter. Brandi Herrington with Starkville Strong has placed four “Winter Weather” bins around the town for people to leave donations.

“We’re asking the community to put items in like toboggan gloves, scarves, even the hot hand packets,” she says.

She’s also looking for volunteers willing to drive people to the Columbus shelter.

“I have former clients who want to give back and have offered to give those people rides,” she says. “Some of our former clients have even offered to let people stay (in their homes) during those colder temperatures.”

Garton says they are also looking for volunteers to help run the shelter.

“We have people that are pulling overnight shifts for seven, eight, nine hours straight because we just don’t have a lot of volunteers,” she says.

But she doesn’t want to turn anyone away.

“It’s going to be very, very cold and we really want to make sure that every single person, man, woman and child has shelter, they’re safe and they’re warm.”

The shelter will run at least until Sunday but Garton says that could change if the cold snap continues.

To donate or volunteer with either organization, contact them here:

Golden Triangle Regional Homeless Coalition: 662-549-2643 

Starkville Strong: 662-314-4648

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