As overnight temperatures dropped over the weekend, the Salvation Army opened it's doors offering overnight shelter to keep those in need.  

Volunteers set up about 50 brand new cots throughout the building on Sunday. 

The organization bought the cots after receiving a $4,000 donation from the Chattanooga Women's Auxiliary Club.

Usually, the Salvation Army kicks off its overnight shelter in mid-December. 

"Without our community we can't do what we're able to do. Our community helps us to be the hands and feet of Jesus and that's why we're here," said Salvation Army Lt. Kenneth Griffey. 

The Salvation Army's marketing director, Kimberly George, said the organization does not budget for or cold weather shelters and relies solely on the public for its support. 

Griffey said that plays a big part in the overnight shelters availability. 

"Unfortunately we don't have funds to open every night, but if it does drop below 32 degrees we're gonna open up and we're gonna give folks a place to go. The challenges are that we don't have paid staff so we rely on volunteers."

Irma Mendoza, said she has been visiting the Salvation Army for years, and always appreciates when they open their doors, especially on the cold nights. 

"It's cold and I have blankets and stuff, but I'm still really cold and the fact that they're opening I got all excited. Me and my friend were like yes lets go and get out of the cold," Mendoza said. "It means that people care about homeless people and they show and it's awesome. More people should care about us too."

Appreciation Griffey said does not go unnoticed. 

"The people that come here love us . Matter of fact they say when they come in here they have a sense of peace and that's the way we want to keep it," Griffey said. 

The Salvation Army is asking the public for help with donating supplies. Here's a list of what they include: 

  • Toiletry items (travel size)
  • Coats
  • Gloves
  • Coffee
  • Snack cakes for the shelter

You can drop off all donations at Salvation Army at 822 McCallie Ave. You can donate money online at; by texting csarmy to 91999 or by calling 1-800-Sal-Army.

The Chattanooga Community Kitchen opened its doors for those in need to come inside and get warm. The Chattanooga Rescue Mission also provided overnight shelter for men and women, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Sunday.