Shelter opens due to extreme cold weather -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Shelter opens due to extreme cold weather

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –A shelter in Valdosta is open to anyone who needs a place to stay warm.

A dozen people stayed last night, but the Mathis City Auditorium has the capacity for hundreds and the Red Cross has the resources to serve them.

Cots and blankets are lined up inside the Mathis City Auditorium this week. The building is being used as a shelter due to the extreme cold weather. At first, it looked like the shelter would only be needed for a couple of days.

"The forecast indicated that it was going to remain cold all the way through the weekend so we went ahead and a made a decision to go ahead and stay open for the rest of the week," said Lowndes EMA Director Ashley Tye.

The shelter is open from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. from now until Monday morning. Free transportation is available from the Soup Kitchen to Mathis each night at 6 and you'll also have a ride back to the kitchen the next morning at 10.

People like Beverly Larry who stayed the last couple nights are cold and have no where else to go.

"Blankets, jackets, a lot of clothes, that's the only way I can stay warm," she said.

She says she's looked for work but can't find a job.

"Keep praying to God because he will make a way and it's real hard when you're out there on the streets and those streets are not the place to be because you never know what will happen," said Larry.

To try to keep people's spirits up, games and movies are available. Food is also provided.

"America's second Harvest has been gracious enough to provide the meals through today and tonight. I have various organizations, businesses, and restaurants who've also donated," said Valdosta American Red Cross Director Terri Whitlock.

On Tuesday night, 12 people showed up to stay warm but the Red Cross says it has enough resources to service hundreds.

"We have plenty of room," said Tye. "The city has an adequate facility here. I believe this shelter is able to accommodate 400 people."

You don't have to be homeless to stay at the shelter. If you don't have adequate heat in your home, for instance, you're welcome to stay.

The shelter's dates and times could be extended depending on weather conditions.

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