PORTSMOUTH -- Several organizations are coming together to provide shelter and blankets to those who don’t have a warm place to stay.
Frank Allen with Hope Charitable Services helped deliver blankets to West Haven Elementary School in Portsmouth Tuesday. Allen said their concern is not only for the homeless during the frigid cold but also the working poor.
“We think that the hardcore homeless will be fine, but our challenge and our heart is breaking for the poor that have homes but they can’t afford heat,” said Allen.
The organization worked overnight to get thousands of blankets delivered to the homeless and families in need.
“We pulled out all the stops and did over 11,000 blankets in the past 24 hours, and we had to coordinate it rather quickly,” said Allen.
The blankets were donated by “Operation Compassion” in Tennessee and delivered by volunteers. They are expected to go out to 21 municipalities.
Places of worship like Magnolia United Methodist Church in Suffolk are opening their doors to keep them safe. They’re offering overnight shelter stays for people in the community.
Debbie Maloney with Volunteers of America said the overnight shelters wouldn’t be possible without community involvement.
“The really do make an incredible difference in the dynamics of people being welcomed and knowing that they are going somewhere where people have prepared for them,” said Malone.
Overnight shelter for adults experiencing homelessness is available through the city’s Winter Shelter Program. The program provides homeless individuals with a place to sleep each night from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. at various faith organizations throughout Virginia Beach.
Participating faith organizations rotate weekly until April to provide overnight shelter and meals. Some organizations may also provide additional support and resources, such as toiletries, clothing and medical care.
VOA still needs blankets for the Winter Shelter Program. To donate, drop off new or gently used blankets (no comforters) to the Lighthouse Center at the hours listed below. VOA will also accept monetary donations.
For more information about the Winter Shelter Program or to donate, please contact Debbie Maloney with VOA at (757) 437-4911, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., or during the weekend from 7 a.m. to noon and from 6 to 8 p.m.
Families with children experiencing homelessness or who are at risk should call Connection Point at (757) 227-5932 to access the city’s homeless prevention and services system.
First Baptist Church of Newport News
12716 Warwick Blvd.
St Mark's United Methodist Church
99 East Mercury Blvd.
Suffolk Night Stay – Coalition Against Poverty
Magnolia United Methodist Church
1764 Wilroy Rd.