Several area shelters in Longview are in need of extra supplies due to upcoming cold weather and the Christmas season approaching, organization directors said Friday.
“We always need new and used twin-sized sheets and pillow cases for our shelter,” Salvation Army Commanding Officer Maj. Ernest Lozano said. “We would expect to see an increase with the colder weather approaching, but sometimes we just end up with our regulars unless the temperature drops to the teens or we have storms and ice.”
House of Hope Director “Sister” Helen Johnson said her center is also in need of bedding supplies, but the No. 1 need right now is financial help.
“We are attempting to build a new 2,800-square-foot kitchen and dining room area that will free up three rooms for housing,” Johnson said. “We’re adding it to our existing building on the east side.”
Johnson said the center houses 60 women every night and provides about 6,500 meals a month.
“For nine years, we’ve been housing all of our food and doing all of our cooking in a 12-by-12-foot area,” she said. “It’s so imperative that we get this kitchen built.”
In addition to monetary donations, Johnson said food is always needed as well as clothing, women’s toiletries and household items.
“We need everything you would need for a house of four times 60,” she said. “We need jackets, pajamas, twin-sized blankets and sheets, new pillows, laundry soap, cleansers, towels, gloves, hats, tennis shoes and sweaters.”
Johnson said the center has helped more than 8,000 women in its nine years of operation.
Lozano said with colder temperatures and the holidays, some would-be shelter seekers lean more heavily on vices such as alcohol or drugs.
“We are an alcohol and drug-free facility, so some people choose not to stay here,” he said of the Salvation Army. “But we want to make sure those people have a nice, warm blanket and scarves, hats, gloves or jackets to stay warm. One of the most heartbreaking stories is to hear of someone who has succumbed to the elements if we have a chance to prevent it.”