As cold weather approaches, local agencies brace to help needy families

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- With cold weather on the way, local service agencies are bracing to help families in need.

They say this winter it could be very challenging to keep up with the community's need for food, housing and assistance paying bills.

"The need in all of our services areas has increased by three fold," explained John Gladman, Assistant Director of Social Services with The Salvation Army in Forsyth County.

"It's nothing like I've ever seen before. What we're dealing with now is not anything that we've seen before," he emphasized. "We're encountering a lot of people who are doing all they can to survive. And we're attempting to fill that need but that need is growing."

Assistance applications are available for families in crisis facing eviction or disconnection of their heating.

Another way Salvation Army helps is with their homeless shelter in Forsyth County. "We are preparing for the winter months, we are the only emergency family shelter in Forsyth County," explained Gladman.

Food is very low in their pantry for low-income families, and he says it's scary to see empty shelves this early in the season.

"The resources are limited. There are helping agencies in our community that can assist you and try to prevent a life threatening situation for you or your family," he said.

In Greensboro, groups like Open Door Ministries say their main concern is food right now. Overall, agencies with the Community Resource Network in Guilford County have about $1.6 million for assistance.

Greensboro Urban Ministries are prepared to help with emergency heating assistance with funds from Duke Energy. However, Director of Development and Communication Christine Byrd says demand is about double right now compared to last year.