Salvation Army Offers Shelter From The Cold

Lynchburg, VA - The next couple of nights will be the toughest to get through, with temperatures dropping into the single digits.

Lynchburg's Salvation Army is preparing for the cold, setting up 40 extra cots that have been donated by the city.

The Salvation Army is at capacity with 83 full-time residents, but there's a bigger need when the temperatures drop so low. Extra cots along with 10 beds they already had, will help them give 50 more people a warm place to sleep.

Dennis King knows what it's like to receive help from the Salvation Army first-hand. He and his wife lived there twice while he struggled with alcohol addiction.

"I haven't drank, the nineteenth of this month will be seven months for me, the longest I've ever been in thirty years and I owe it all to the Salvation Army," said King.

King says the Salvation Army saved his family's life, and he now volunteers his time there.

"I think I should, I think I owe it to them for them doing what they've done for me and my wife and my family," said King.

The Salvation Army opens their doors as soon as the temperatures drop to 40 degrees or below. Captain Donald Dohmann says it's not just homeless people who need the warm beds and food.

"Just because folks may be in a home, many would be surprised at how many are living without power, without any ability of heating their home," said Dohmann.

It's during the extra cold nights that the option to come to the Salvation Army is especially helpful.

"On the weekends, people have other places to go sometimes, but you know it's really depending on how cold it gets," said Dohmann.

The cots are placed in the chapel and people are able to stay overnight and have breakfast in the morning. It's another way the Salvation Army is able to help the community.

"That's our mission, that's what we're about is helping others," said Dohmann.

Captain Dohmann said that Blue Ridge Community Church has made space for people to stay as well. They will bring their vans to the Salvation Army to pick up anyone who is not able to find a bed there.