Shelters ask for community’s help

Local News

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA)– Cold temperatures have a lot of people trying to keep warm. Shelters say they’ve seen more people come through their doors and they could use some extra help. Dan Watkins is the Executive Director of God’s Shelter of Love. They have two shelters. Both are for women and children. In the summer they saw around three women on average. Now they average ten. They’ve seen as many as 14 women in the two story home.

“This has been a huge need that we’re finding, especially in the winter months,” said Watkins. They’re not alone. Mary Claire Sutman is the Shelter Operations and Program Director at the Salvation Army. “We have 21 beds in the cold cot room and they’ve been consistently full the last couple of weeks,” said Sutman. They’re expecting those numbers to drop as the temperatures fall, but Watkins says it’s an issue that everyone should care about. “We had a mom with 5 kids in there that were homeless, so I think it’s all of our problems and it’s something that we want to all pitch in and try and find a possible solution to it,” said Watkins.

Sometimes pitching in means you’ll sacrifice your time to work for a greater cause. “I made the decision to be here today because of the severe cold,” said Sutman. Watkins says their biggest need is staffing. “When there’s 14 ladies in here and you can tell by the size of this house, it is really crowded. We’re just looking for some help,” said Watkins. The Salvation Army says they could also use deoderant, razors, and bath towels. They hope the community will step in to help out.

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