Shelters in Columbus open as temperature drops

Shelters in Columbus open as temperature drops

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - As temperatures continue to drop, several ministries in the Chattahoochee Valley are preparing to open their doors for those who need a warm place to stay.

Valley Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Shelter on 11th Avenue is already open Monday night for women and children who need to get out of the cold. Greg Wilson, Valley Rescue Mission’s marketing and development specialist, said they are following standard COVID-19 protocols.

“Definitely to get us through the cold weather, the cold snap that’s hitting us this week. They’ll be safe, they’ll be sheltered in a warm environment, and receive good food,” said Wilson.

Even after one of Valley Rescue Mission’s largest donation periods during Thanksgiving, Wilson said they’re always accepting donations.

Safehouse Ministries on Hamilton Road will open their doors at 7 a.m. Tuesday and stay open until 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. They will have hot coffee and hot breakfast Tuesday morning. They’ll also pass out warm weather clothing.

Eric McClure with Safehouse said they typically house an average of 50 to 75 people during the frigid temperatures.

“As far as COVID, what we do, we take the necessary precautions here. When they come through the door, we take their temp. We sanitize their hands. We also offer them a mask. If they don’t have one, we’ve got plenty of them to give them,” explained McClure, Safehouse’s director of operations.

McClure said they’re in need of coffee, sugar, creamer and toilet paper that can be dropped off when they’re open Tuesday through Wednesday.

“I’d just like to say a thank you to the community for stepping up during this time when it turn cold. Because we look out for the wellbeing of our clients here and helping them anyway we can and opening our doors is one of the biggest things that we could do here,” he said.

The Verge Church on River Road will start picking people up Tuesday afternoon to bring to the church so they have a warm place to sleep.

“We’re preparing tonight with the beds and getting everything set up and we’ll go out and pick people up tomorrow starting at 4:30 at multiple locations,” said Sr. Pastor Chuck Odum. “So, tonight we went out and passed out flyers and let people know where we’re going to be so that they’ll be ready.”

Along with escaping the cold, Odum said people will have a hot meal, clean clothes, and shower before they are dropped back off the next morning.

“For us specifically, I think what we want to try to do is love our community with no strings attached, no obligations from them, but to also the things that we provide we want to be quality stuff,” Odum said.

He said they’ll also be following COVID-19 protocols, including having face masks and hand sanitizer, keeping people spread out, and sanitizing bathrooms throughout the night.

Odum said they are low on clothing and in need of soap, socks, gloves, new underwear, beanies and jackets. He said they are particularly in need of women’s and men’s winter clothing, specifically in larger sizes for men.

They will begin picking up people between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Tuesday at the following locations:

  • Salvation Army Thrift Store Parking lot (Manchester Expwy. and River Rd.)
  • The Water Park across from Amos B. Cancer Center
  • The Homeless Resource Network
  • Country’s BBQ on Broadway near the bridge

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