Memphis shelters in overflow mode during cold weather - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Memphis shelters in overflow mode during cold weather

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It's hard to think about someone not having a place to go in the cold but it's a reality right here in Memphis for thousands.

If you're watching from your warm home be thankful! More than 2,000 would love to be where you are. More than 300 will spend the night at the Memphis Union Mission.

"It's like you don't have the courage to do nothing," said Larry Portalis Will.

MORE: Winter Weather Resource Guide

 But Will  has come a long way. "I want to be what God has planned for me. I want to be a motivator and help people … whatever God's got planned for me you, God will make a way through anything."

Behind these sad faces there's a lot of hope. It may not look like it sometimes but the Memphis Union Mission is more than a place where people come to hang out; they do a lot more.

"That involves everything from working training and work assignments, Bible study, and pastoral counseling," says Will.

Director of Development Steve Carpenter says sometimes cold weather brings change.

"The last time we had a really nasty cold storm, we had more men come in and with it; it was a wake-up a call," Carpenter said.

They realized they wanted a better life and they didn't want to be here; Larry did. "If you have hope and faith, you can do anything."

Sometimes all you need is a little faith.

Union Mission and Salvation Army shelters will provide extra beds for the homeless population because of extreme cold temperatures expected in the Mid-South.

Shelters are expecting more of the homeless population to find shelter from the cold weather.

The Orange Mound Community Center on Park Avenue is transformed into a Warming Center.

The Red Cross is providing support to the City of Memphis.

Jeff Patrick, Union Mission's pastor, said they have room for about 350 men and they've near seen that many come in Sunday from the cold.

But they're prepped and ready, doing everything they can to make sure no one spends the night out in the cold.

The Union mission is using all the space they have available, getting ready for tonight's single-digit low temperatures when they expect even more men to come in for a respite.

Some of the men were brought in by Memphis Police, Here they get a hot meal, a place to shower, and most importantly a warm place to sleep.

Patrick said some of these men are already sick. Being sick plus staying out on the streets in freezing temps is a bad combination. But he's realistic and acknowledges for most men this is the last place they'd like to be. Many usually prefer to sleep in abandoned buildings, but Sunday evening When the cold grip begins to tighten they give in and head into the shelter.
 
Elton Chubbuck is spending his second night at the Union Mission.

"I heard it was going to be 13-below (wind chill) tonight, and you can tell by many people running in to get out of the weather," Chubbuck said. "Men will die on the streets. It's a serious cold snap, the coldest I've seen in a long time."

The Memphis Union Mission is privately funded, and relies solely on donations. The best items to donate are warm weather attire like tube socks and coats. They say one of the worst things you can donate is a sleeping bag because they are not designed for severe cold weather and also they encourage our local homeless population to continue to live on the streets. Visit their web site below to make a donation.

 

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