Warming shelters open for the cold weather

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Different organizations are coming together to make sure people won’t have to sleep outside.

Some are escaping the cold weather by going into the Community Kitchen.

On Tuesday afternoon, music rang out as people kept warm during the day.
They’ve also opened up their warming shelter.

“I am very thankful to have a warm place to sleep at night. Love them, love them. I slept here last night. I plan on sleeping here again tonight. It is cold out there. I would suggest, my suggestion to everyone would be to get somewhere warm, a place like this great people to open up there doors,” Robert Allen said.

They usually don’t open their warming shelter until December, but they’ve made an exception.

“We’ve got probably 200 people that have been inside for most of the day. We are extending hours as we have had to, but we are also opening overnight because of the cold weather,” said Jens Christensen, the CEO of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.

The Salvation Army is also opening their doors.

“Right now the weather is extremely cold and it is a bit dangerous to stay outside overnight. We are housing women tonight. We are grateful that the community kitchen is housing men. We are working together to make sure that no one has to stay on the streets,” said Mark Smith, the area commander of the Salvation Army in Chattanooga.

They also encourage people to donate warm clothing.

Back at the Community Kitchen, Organizers say this is a life saving effort.

“If you think about it people outside with nowhere else to go. It is a very difficult time for them, it is a place they don’t have to turn unless we open our doors and that is really what keeps people alive sometimes,” Christensen said.

Allen says if it wasn’t for this, it would be difficult.

“More than likely I would be outside and I would be very cold. That is why I am very thankful for the community kitchen. Love them to death,” Allen said.

The community Kitchen plans to have their warming shelter opened through Friday and maybe Saturday.

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