01/03/18 — Shelters fill up as bitter cold sweeps in

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Shelters fill up as bitter cold sweeps in

By Joey Pitchford
Published in News on January 3, 2018 5:50 AM

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Janie Whitfield sets the tables for dinner with desserts as the centerpiece Tuesday at the Salvation Army Men's Shelter. The shelter, that can serve 16, is usually at capacity during months with extreme temperatures.

With Wayne County in the middle of a cold snap, the Salvation Army of Goldsboro's men's shelter is already full, leaving many looking for other ways to get out of the cold.

Capt. Sherrie Stokes, with the Salvation Army, said that the shelter has room for 16 people, and filled up almost instantly when the weather turned cold. Stokes said that the shelter has tried to help people as much as possible, even if they cannot accept them in.

"We have had people come through and we've had to turn them away, because we just don't have the room. It breaks our hearts," she said. "We try to make sure they leave with coats, hats, gloves, scarves and a hot meal. We can't do that for everyone, but we try to do it for as many as possible."

Stokes said the Salvation Army also offers vouchers to its family store, as well as weather-proof mats weaved together from plastic. She said that the organization is always in need of clothing for the people under its care, and welcomes donations to that end.

The House of Fordham, at 412 N. William St., is having a similar experience as the temperature drops. The house typically does not take people in overnight, but in times of particular need -- such as extreme cold -- will open its doors to those who need a place to stay for a few days.

"We usually do not, but in this kind of weather we will," said Linda Burroughs, director. "I'd say it's been about normal, there are always a few more people this time of year."

Burroughs said that, between the four housing facilities which operate under the House of Fordham banner -- two for men and two for women -- there are only two or three beds remaining in one of the men's facilities. Burroughs said people who need a place to stay are welcome as long as there is space.

"We take everybody regardless of their background, they just can't come in drinking or on drugs," she said.

Some may find themselves having to be outside in the cold. North Carolina Emergency Management officials are urging everyone to dress as warmly as possible, with multiple layers of thin clothing instead of a single layer of thick clothing.