Stores and shelters brace for the year's first winter blast - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Stores and shelters brace for the year's first winter blast

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Shelters and hardware stores both say last year's icy weather blew down a harsh reminder of the importance of preparation in advance.

"The memory of last March and April was still fresh on our minds that we had such a massive cold snap that kind of gripped the whole valley and the fact that we were not prepared," explained 
Frank Comer, owner of Wynnton Hardware in Columbus.

That was the number one factor in determining how Wynnton Hardware prepared for this winter, and with fully stocked shelves, Comer says this year's cold snap won't catch them without a heater.

"We probably carry here somewhere 20 different brands/styles of electric heaters," Comer added. "We also have brought in the gas type heaters as well and the kerosene."

The hardware store also stocked up on materials to weatherize your home like pipe insulation and faucet covers. For those who may not have a home, shelters like the Valley Rescue Mission are also heating up their efforts by adding additional space.

"Here at the Howard Mott Center, we actually have additional beds that we did not have last year," explained Mitzi Oxford, Development Director for the Valley Rescue Mission. "The space has increased so instead of 30 we have 56. That's a blessing."

Additionally, the Valley Rescue Mission is giving blankets to those who check in to the shelter and taking blankets to the unsheltered homeless around the community. To better serve the growing need, Oxford encourages donations of any kind to get through our potentially wicked winter.

"A warm meal and safe shelter is one of the greatest gifts you can give," 
Oxford added . 

The Valley Rescue Mission has several shelters around the valley. Most of them open for the night around 2:30 p.m. and are operating at capacity currently. Hardware Stores stress the importance of getting your alternate heating sources and cold weather necessities before it's too late.

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