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Salvation Army prepares for surge in anticipation of winter weather

The Salvation Army prepares for surge in anticipation of winter weather. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

Homeless shelters in Amarillo are gearing up for a rush of people trying to stay out of the cold as winter approaches.

Several members of the homeless population wait outside under the shelter of the Salvation Army on Friday for dinner.

Director of Social Services, Craig Stockstill, is preparing for a surge of people who are looking for a place to keep warm as freezing rain, snow and ice take over the city during a winter storm this weekend.

“The primary issue or concern isn’t the snow or ice, it’s really the cold,” said Stockstill.

Resources are already wearing thin at the shelter now that donations are fewer and fewer each year.

The Salvation Army cut its breakfast program in November because there was not enough money to provide the meal for those staying at the shelter.

“It stresses an already stressed system,” said Stockstill.

Stockstill tells ABC 7 News, 20 to 30 new people have already showed up at the shelter with more to come as the temperature drops.

Despite the low resources, he says they are prepared.

“We know that when the weather is inclement during the winter time, what we can anticipate as far as numbers wise, so we can draw that history to plan ahead. We make sure we have enough food, toiletries, pillows, bedding. We have secured 100 cots from the city to help with overflow.”

Stockstill says just about anyone is welcome.

“Really one of the only restrictions we have put in place are registered sex offenders cannot come into the shelter and people who are a danger to themselves and others wouldn’t be allowed to come into the shelter,” said Stockstill.

The Salvation Army accepts monetary donations year-round to help with the general operating costs.

During the winter months, they need blankets, coats, hats and gloves to give to those in need.

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