Gentlemen enjoy plates of free food from the Salvation Army's fall carnival for area homeless/impoverished on McCallie Ave in Chattanooga in this file photo.Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee
HOW TO HELP
Donations of heaters, blankets, warm clothes, tents or food may be dropped off at the following locations:
• Chattanooga: 822 McCallie Ave.
• Cleveland: 435 Inman St.
• Monetary donations can also be brought to the two locations by calling 1-800-Sal-Army. Donations can also be submitted online at csarmy.org.
TO GET HELP
Call the Salvation Army help line at 423-305-6200
As temperatures plunged to below-freezing levels this week, requests for emergency heating assistance are streaming into Chattanooga's Salvation Army.
But as of Friday, the organization didn't have a single space heater to share with those struggling to heat their homes.
"We have quite a few folks -- especially the elderly and low income -- who need supplemental heating," said Salvation Army spokeswoman Kimberly George. "But we don't have much to work with right now."
A mild winter up until now has meant that cold weather donations are down compared to previous years, George said.
In addition to heaters and monetary donations for the Salvation Army's utility assistance program, the organization is in sore need of tents, blankets, coats and other warm clothing to share with the homeless, George said.
"I think typically the average neighbor doesn't realize how life-threatening the cold temps can be for the homeless, the elderly and infants," George said.
Temperatures are expected to climb some this weekend, but the lows will remain at freezing or below, according to WRCB-TV Channel 3 weather reports.
As winter sets in, the Salvation Army also is urging businesses, schools and religious groups to start clothing and food drives to further bolster its supplies, said George.
"We often are bombarded by the need we see for the poor in other countries, but it's hard to believe our own neighbors are having to make the decision whether to buy groceries and keep the heat off to avoid a high electric bill, or forgo buying groceries to be able to turn the heat on since it's so cold," George said.