Community Kitchen opens a second straight night for shelter - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community Kitchen opens a second straight night for shelter

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

As temperatures drop below freezing, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen is opening its doors to anyone who needs shelter.

Last night, 55 people slept at the shelter,and they're expecting even more Wednesday night. They open the doors from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. to anyone needing a warm place to stay.

READ MORE | Another night of sub-freezing temperatures

Dolly Vanderhoff and her husband didn't find shelter last night. Instead, they slept outside in a lot.

"We huddled under blankets," she said. "Try and stay warm. As much as possible."

They could still see their breath while huddled up under two sleeping bags and 12 blankets. But there is an option for folks like Dolly at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen where Executive Director Charlie Hughes opens up the doors on dangerously cold nights.

"If there's a situation where it's gonna be dangerous outside, then they can pretty well count on us to be open," he said.

Hughes had 55 people sleep there Tuesday, with the oldest being 78 years old. And he said more than half the people who stayed there were brand new to the system.

"So that lets us know the homeless numbers are climbing," he said.

Even Dolly and her husband are new to the streets. This is their first winter without a home and as she applies for disability benefits, she hopes it's the last.

"Hopefully get off the street. Get into a house. That's our main goal. But until then we're freezing," she said.

The Community Kitchen reopens tonight at 6 for anyone wanting to stay there. If you'd like to help, they need folks to donate blankets.

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