winter weather

Organizations Join Forces to Get Help Hundreds Escape Freezing Temperatures

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As the roller coaster weather continues in North Texas, temperatures over the weekend dipped to dangerous levels.

With lows in the teens and 20s Saturday and Sunday nights, multiple organizations sprang into action to help get hundreds of homeless individuals out of the cold.

Over 200 people were able to sleep in a warm space at OurCalling, a nonprofit ministry helping the homeless on Sunday night. The facility was at capacity on Saturday night as well.

Click the video below to watch an interview with OurCalling's CEO and pastor, Wayne Walker.

Wayne Walker, the founder, CEO and pastor at Dallas-based OurCalling, spoke with NBC 5’s Alanna Quillen about the importance of cold weather shelters and what’s being done to protect those in need.

Every year, the organization partners with the city of Dallas, The Stewpot and Austin Street Shelter and others to serve individuals during extremely cold weather.

Churches like Union Gospel Mission opened up space for families in need at 3211 Irving Boulevard in Dallas.

OurCalling said the omicron variant hasn't made this process easy but COVID-19 testing is being done and anyone who tests positive is taken to another location to isolate.

The Salvation Army also took in nearly 300 people across North Texas over the weekend at warming shelters in Plano, Denton, Lewisville, McKinney, and Garland. Cots inside the shelters are spaced six feet apart. Coats and jackets are also provided.

“Each of our shelters can typically handle about 75 individuals to be accommodated at our shelters," said Beckie Wach, Executive Director for Adult and Family Programs for the North Texas Salvation Army. "We were able to accommodate 245 within those five shelters last night. We are expecting that to be much higher [Sunday]."

Social workers and case managers were also available to help families find a permanent place to call home.

“Anytime we’re offering warm shelters, it gives us an opportunity to reach out on a deeper level with folks and making sure they understand the resources that we do have,” said Wach. 

Wach is asking the public to help spread the word about the warming shelters. 

“If you’re out shopping, and about, and you see someone in their car or on the corner of on the street, just encourage them to go to a center and get help because we want them to stay warm tonight,” said Wach. 

Those at the warming shelters will get a hot meal and a safe place to stay, and no one will be turned away. You can find the address to the Salvation Army of North Texas’ warming shelters here.

The work to keep people warm isn't over.

Organizations are bracing to do this all over again later this week when the next cold front comes through on Thursday.

"It's just one of those situations that you plan for and are ready for in a moment's notice to deploy but never really prepared for," said Walker.

OurCalling still needs more coats to distribute to people in need. They have a partnership with White Rhino Coffee where people can drop off coat donations at seven different locations through Thursday.

Union Gospel in Dallas is also collecting blankets, coats, food, and supply donations. Click here for more information. Those in need can also call 214-637-6117.

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