CHARLOTTE, NC – Shelter staff across the city are working overtime to get children off the streets.
Now, they need help making sure these kids stay warm, clothed and fed.
At the Salvation Army Center of Hope shelter, the Red Cross donated 25 cots to sleep an additional 50 women and children in the shelter’s chapel.
“We’re going to implement a no-turn-away policy,” said Deronda Metz, director of social services at the Salvation Army Center of Hope Shelter.
Metz says the shelter usually houses 375 people–200 of them are children. This week, her staff is planning for up to 450.
“Obviously you don’t want a mom and her children sleeping in their car, definitely not outside or in a house that’s empty or doesn’t have heat,” said Metz.
It’s a city-wide effort to get an alarming number of kids out of the cold. At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools reported 4,131 identified homeless students.
At A Child’s Place, Program Director Kimberly Parker says staff is helping students at 34 CMS schools right now.
“They are either in shelters, doubled up or in hotels. Right now, we have a little over a thousand children we are servicing at this moment,&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; said Parker.
The children need more than shelter. Parker says making sure the kids are warm when they head to school is also a priority.
In addition to warm clothes, the children need coats, toiletries and food.
If you want to help, you can find a list of urgent needs below with the corresponding drop-off locations:
A Child’s Place
Urgent Needs: coats, toothpaste, full-size lotion
Drop-off location: 601 East 5th Street, Suite 230, Charlotte, NC 28202
The Salvation Center of Hope Shelter
Urgent Needs: towels, washcloths
Drop-off location: 534 Spratt St, Charlotte, NC 28206