BURLINGTON, N.C. — Homeless shelters in Burlington say the recent snow and cold weather has caused a growing demand for warm clothes and shoes at a time when donations are low.
“This time of year, we usually get a whole lot more than this,” said John Robinson, facilities kitchen director for Allied Churches of Alamance County. “This is all we’ve been getting,” he said pointing at bags of clothes.
Robinson says this week alone donations have gone down by about half when the number of people who need them is going up.
“They’re coming in with holes in their shoes,” said Kim Crawford, executive director of the shelter. “They’re coming in with flip flops when it’s 15 [degrees] this morning.”
Things like blankets, hats and socks go as quickly as they come in, often causing workers to use their own money to make sure no one goes cold.
“There’s no reason for someone to freeze to death because they couldn’t get what they needed,” Crawford said.
It’s a motto people like Charles Eichhorn are grateful for.
“I would not want that for anyone to be wandering the streets cold,” said Eichhorn, who has been homeless since February.
He’s been staying at the shelter for the past five days after weeks of wearing a pair of jeans and a light jacket.
“I was cold, hungry, lost,” he said.
Thanks to the shelter he’s now dressed in layers from head to toe and has a bucket filled with winter clothes.
“It’s like angels coming down from heaven,” Eichhorn said.