Community Kitchen opens third straight night - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community Kitchen opens third straight night

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For the third straight night, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen is opening an emergency shelter for our area's homeless.

They had the largest turnout of this Winter season Monday night and Executive Director Charlie Hughes expects even more Tuesday night.

Hughes said Monday night was the coldest he can remember in his nearly 25 years with the kitchen.

"It's a good place to come to get out of the cold weather," said Azriel Stovall, homeless for 3 months. "Today is my lucky day because I don't have to get in the cold."

The kitchen fed almost 100 people grits, honey buns and coffee Tuesday morning. But for local homeless folks, the kitchen is more than just a source of food; it could be their only shelter in this record-breaking cold.

The kitchen housed 90 people Monday night. The crowd, made up mostly of men, was the largest this winter. Monday marked the 12th night the kitchen has opened this winter because of frigid temperatures. But Hughes said it's not near any record. A few years ago, he said they housed more than 200 people during a stretch of cold days.

Gary Vinyard has been homeless for four years. He said he could survive a night in the cold but he's not taking a chance.

"After four years you get used to it. I'm not old, I'm experienced," he said. "I got the stuff to keep warm but a lot of the younger people, they wouldn't make it."

As long as the shelter stays open, Vinyard said he'll sleep there and he hopes others do too.

With the latest Storm Alert Forecast predicting overnight temperatures in the teens, the shelter will remain open Tuesday night.

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