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IRC helping people with shelter and water in the heat

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GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro gets a lot of attention during the cold weather months for helping people who are facing homelessness.

But summer weather, said executive director Michelle Kennedy, can be just as much of an emergency. "People hear all about us when it's snowing, the weather's really cold and we're providing shelter. But one of the things most in the community don't realize is people's lives are even more in danger during extreme periods of heat. And we are here to help however we can," she said.

Because of the high temperatures right now, the IRC is staying open two hours longer during the day until 5 p.m. to give their guests, many of whom are homeless, a little more time out of the elements.

They are posting the daily weather forecast and keeping water in coolers on hand inside. Volunteers and workers are also giving everyone a bottle of water to take with them as they leave the building.

"Folks are always really thankful we're here and that we're open," add IRC worker Melanie Yokeley. "They do appreciate the water. It's just kinda hard to get that. The public restaurants and such don't really want folks coming in for public bathroom use. So they can come here and get that water and take it with them. It makes one part of their day a little easier."

Kennedy says local individuals, groups and ministries donate sack lunches and cases of bottled water as much as they can.

But it's all handed out very quickly in the summer. One reason is because the IRC gets an influx of children and families when school is out.

"That bottle of water may be their only defense against the heat all day," she pointed out. "And that's insufficient. It's not enough. But at least it's a start to provide someone with some hydration that they can take with them."

The IRC is located at 407 East Washington Street in Greensboro. They'd appreciate any donations or cases of bottled water to continue helping people without shelter in the heat.