Salvation Army prepares as cold weather approaches

Salvation Army prepares as cold weather approaches
Major Kelly English (Source: WALB)
Major Kelly English (Source: WALB)
Chris Zelman (Source: WALB)
Chris Zelman (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - We are expecting bitterly cold temperatures at the end of this week, and wind conditions will send wind chills plummeting.

The Salvation Army here in Albany is preparing for an influx of people seeking a warm place to stay.

"It's going to be cold.  It's going to be really cold," said Major Kelly English with the Salvation Army.

Cold may be an understatement.

Our region is expecting temperatures to drop in the 30s.

"We're going to feel the coldest air starting Friday morning," said WALB News 10's meteorologist Chris Zelman.  "Now we may not all get to freezing, I think just the northern counties will see freezing temperatures.  But what will happen is the wind chills will get down to the 20s.  We haven't seen wind chills like this since probably last January."

And with the cold weather, comes a growing concern for those who do not have a place to stay.

The Salvation Army in Albany is here to help.

"Normally when we see cold weather coming in like this, we're going to see a spike in people who come and stay at our shelters," said Major English.

He said they're already preparing for that spike.

"Our capacity is 47 beds, but what we have, we've got enough bedding, and cots, and mats, that we can increase that almost double," he said.

Zelman said this is the beginning of a colder trend that we will experience beginning next week.

"I think we'll be in a pattern where we'll see cold snaps and some rain out ahead of these cold snaps," he said.

This holiday season is a busy time for shelters and other non profit organizations, but Major English said the season is about giving, and that's what the Salvation Army is prepared to do.

"It's why there's a red kettle, it's why you hear that bell.  That's why," he said. "Because somebody is going to come to us in need. Somebody is not going to have any other option but coming here.  And because somebody said, 'Today, I'm going to give a dollar in the mail, or give a dollar in that red kettle, somebody gets to come here and have some dignity."

Major English said they will begin to adjust their hours and number of cots based on the number of people they see coming in within the next 48 hours.

Normally, their meals start at 6 and they begin the shelter intake at 7.

Copyright 2016 WALB. All rights reserved.