Salvation Army opens their doors for chilly weekend - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Salvation Army opens their doors for chilly weekend

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This weekend The Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga opens its doors as temperatures drop below freezing. It's getting extra space ready so some of the city's homeless have a warm place to sleep.

"Feeling like a piece of cold bacon when you wake up on the street," is how Robert Nix describes a night in the cold.

He's spent many nights of the streets of Chattanooga while trying to get back on his feet. It's especially hard when temperatures drop fast.

"Take one day at a time," adds Nix.

He's hoping to be one of the first in line when the Salvation Army extends its hours this weekend.

"When the weather turns dangerous, then we have to open our doors and allow them in," says area commander Major Algerome Newsome.

He says the cafe at the McCallie Avenue facility is being converted into a shelter so the homeless can escape the big chill. Temperatures are expected to be in the 20s by Sunday night.

"It's not a comfortable thing because they're sleeping on mats," adds Newsome. "But at least they're in a warm place."

There's room for 75 people on a first come, first served basis. Snacks, coffee, and hot chocolate will be served by staff and volunteers.

The main cold weather shelter for the city is at The Community Kitchen, but its shelter doesn't open until mid-December, according to Newsome.

Technically, the Salvation Army isn't an overnight shelter and needs extra funds to operate as one from time to time. It counts on the community for support and love.

Monetary donations of any amount are always welcome, but when freezing cold weather is expected you can help in other ways.

"Coats and blankets right now are the best items. Regular clothing we'll take as well," says Newsome. The clothes can be "gently used" as they say.

You can also donate new, unopened items such as soaps and shampoos. Just make sure they're travel/hotel size.

He hopes the warm hearts of The Scenic City won't leave others out in the cold, and Nix is grateful for the the lending hands.

"If it wasn't for the Salvation Army and other service providers and churches and charities, we'd all be in a bad bind," says Nix.

The space will be open from 6 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday, and again from 6 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday. Newsome hopes the Salvation Army can open the shelter again when necessary this winter.

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