SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – With temperatures falling below freezing this week, Springfield residents are stepping up to make sure the homeless have a place to stay.
From collecting hand warmers, to assembling emergency shelters, Springfield residents are mobilizing to keep the homeless safe in this bitter cold.
City Church in Springfield is rushing to get an emergency shelter ready with a dangerously cold weekend ahead. With temperatures dipping down into the negatives, this time of year hits the homeless community hard as they struggle to stay safe in the bitter cold.
“It was negative two degrees when I started working, so, it’s cold. This is a horrible time to be without a home,” said Tyler Hall of Wilbraham.
Facing a frigid weekend, the church has been working with the city, East Springfield neighborhood council, and countless others to create an emergency shelter by Sunday.
“It’s really encouraging like when the city colorizes around something that can be tragic, the cold weather presents some pretty dire circumstances,” said Daniel Adams of the City Church Annex Shelter.
The church has spent the last few days working to gather donations, find volunteers, and get the necessary city approvals to open twenty beds by Sunday.
With the cold dipping down into dangerously low temperatures, the city of Springfield and the East Springfield Neighborhood Council began collecting jackets, gloves, cots and new bedding Thursday morning in the hopes of mobilizing an emergency shelter by Friday night.
“It’s invigorating,” said Kathleen Brown of the East Springfield Neighborhood Council. “We know that people care, that people are willing to help their neighbors. We’re hoping to get 20 beds going for that extra location, and who knows what’s going to happen because it’s going to be cold for a while.”
The Annex Shelter plans to run through the month of January, the church will be holding volunteer orientations over the weekend.
Springfield resident Bob “The Bike Man” Charland has begun supplying police cruisers with emergency kits to hand out to the homeless.
He collected a donation of thousands of items from a local home depot Thursday night to help keep them warm.
“It was huge, because there are well over 2,000 hand and foot warmers here, emergency blankets, other small supplies that we put in the bags,” said Charland. “At this point we’re looking to outfit Holyoke police department and Chicopee with them. We’ve already done Springfield and all the other locals. They can make a huge difference.”
Supplies for the emergency shelter will be collected from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East Springfield neighborhood Council building on Carew Street. The building is located behind the Pottenger Elementary School.