Red Cross opens cold shelter in Gulfport

By Jessica Bowman – email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - As the cold weather moves in, the American Red Cross is making sure everyone in South Mississippi has a place to stay warm. The Isiah Fredericks Community Center is once again serving as a cold weather shelter.

As brand new cots were brought in Thursday night, shelter residents helped volunteers unfold the metal frames and put together make shift beds.

The Executive Director of The American Red Cross Gulf Coast Chapter, Josh Joachim, said, "We were under the impression we would be sheltering for one night, but we already prepared for three nights just in case it was for a longer time. And it looks at this time we will be sheltering for two nights, maybe further depending on the weather."

As shelter residents made their way in, Red Cross volunteers helped them find a place to call home for the night.

"Feels good, you give back," volunteer Rick Campion said. "I guess there's always a verse we go by. It says, 'To those who much has been given, much is demanded.' And that's what the Red Cross does."

The Red Cross has teamed up with Coast Transit Authority and Feed My Sheep. The soup kitchen is providing free meals for people staying at the shelter.

"They're also providing transportation from Isiah Fredericks to Feed My Sheep for breakfast," Joachim said.

Thursday night it was fresh brewed coffee that greeted those coming in out of the cold.

"They also have the opportunity to take comfort kits that have, hygiene products and deodorant and things. And we also have shower facilities that they are able to use here if they need to," said Joachim.

Joachim said the shelter will hold up to 200 people. They're expecting about 60 to 70 people to stay there this week. And remember, CTA buses are providing free rides to the shelter.

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