Cold weather shelters open in advance of low temps - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Cold weather shelters open in advance of low temps

Jan Desy, left, gets a hug from Salvation Army volunteer Wade Bishop. (Photo source: WLOX News) Jan Desy, left, gets a hug from Salvation Army volunteer Wade Bishop. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Bitter temperatures coming into South Mississippi have prompted cold weather shelters to open for the first time this season.

Many along the Coast took advantage of the crisp beginning of the holidays with quality time outdoors.

Anna Simmons of Gulfport got in a relatively comfortable 10-mile run, but she says she’s fortunate to see it from a different perspective.

“It’s beautiful and then of course, it’s going to be cold tonight, so I get to go home and hang out with my son in the cozy temperature of my house.”

Meanwhile, the cold weather has forced others to find a place to stay to protect themselves, and the Salvation Army is here to help.

Jan Desy has been utilizing the Salvation Army for 2 1/2 years while she tries to transition into permanent housing. When friends come to her for guidance, she knows where to send them.

“They always ask me where’s the best place to go, and I say Salvation Army,” Desy said. “And they say, ‘All right’ and usually come down here and thank me for recommending for them to come down here and get some help.”

The best help now, is shelter.

“When it comes down to it, you really need a shelter,” said Andrew Wilson, WLOX meteorologist. “There are so many things factoring into it as the ground temperature will be cold, the air will be cold, wind-chill values will also be very low for tonight and you really need a sturdy shelter to keep you warm.”

Volunteers — both new and seasoned — are what keep the doors open.

“This cold weather shelter is actually completely operated by volunteers,” said Salvation Army volunteer coordinator Zachary Rhodes. “If we don’t have volunteers, we can’t work.”

Wade Bishop has been a volunteer since 2009.

"I think it's what we're called to do as Christians,” Bishop said.

Click here for a list of open shelters. If you'd like to volunteer with the Salvation Army, visit www.salvationarmyalm.org/msgulfcoast.

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