Shelters need donations of coats, blankets, pillows

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- When the temperature dips below zero, it is possible to get frost bite within minutes. For the homeless, this weather can be deadly. Local shelters are asking for your help.

Hope Ministries and South Bend's Center for the Homeless say they are in need of coats, socks, blankets and pillows for their guests.

"It's so cold outside. It's too cold to even go out for maybe a couple of puffs of a cigarette, and then back in," said Rose McAler, a guest at the Center for the Homeless.

Thursday night temperatures are expected to get as cold as 20-below with the wind chill.


"There's no possibility of surviving in that temperature," said Jessie Stoltzfus, Hope Ministries Director of Community Relations.


This winter has been brutal-snow, cold and wind making the fight for survival on the streets even tougher for the homeless.


"I was on a bench for three weeks and it was cold then but it's even colder now, so I do hope and pray they find a place to stay," said McAler.

"Last winter we were successful and we didn't have any reported deaths of people experiencing homelessness. I don't know that we're going to be able to say that this winter," said Lani Vivirito, Center for the Homeless.


That's not stopping Hope Ministries or the Center for the Homeless from working to find a way to prevent losing lives to the elements.


"We do work with our own organization with Project Warm as well as partner organizations and other weather amnesty programs to make sure people have a place to stay," said Stoltzfus.


McAler is thankful.


"I am so, so grateful that I'm on the outside looking in because it's so cold outside," said McAler.


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