By John Sharp: AL.com
Herschel Kemp was among the 130 men and women who stayed the night Tuesday at the Salvation Army of Coastal Alabama’s shelter in midtown Mobile.
The 58-year-old Mobile resident said many of the overnight guests were elderly folks or those battling with a disability.
“A lot of them are older than me,” Kemp said. “We have one man here who was in his 70s. Another is crippled. It helps for them to come in here and have the camaraderie and talk to people.”
The Salvation Army at 1009 Dauphin St. opened as a 24-hour emergency shelter beginning at 3 p.m. Monday, and the facility had more than 80 people stay overnight Monday. That number jumped to more than 130 on Tuesday, which is in addition to the nearly 100 men who stay at the facility every night in one of the organization’s programs.
Almost 200 men and women stopped into the shelter during the day Tuesday for a variety of services as Winter Storm Leon struck the Southeast.
Salvation Army officials designated a conference room for women and a separate area for couples in an attempt to make things “as comfortable as possible for everyone seeking shelter,” according to a news release.
Kemp said he and others have helped assembling and placing cots and blankets throughout the shelter.
“Most of them have been here all day,” Kemp said. “You can stay here and they take care of you and are signing up people up for (meals) and hot chocolate is being passed out to drink.”
The Salvation Army is seeking donations of hot chocolate, coffee, water and food to help with the extra meals. Donations of blankets and warm clothing will be given out to those in need and any monetary donations are welcomed to help in heating the building. Donations can be brought to 1009 Dauphin Street or online at www.SACoastAL.org.
Kemp said believes Wednesday night will be busier.
“Most people will stay until this over with,” he said. “A lot of people are out and it gets real cold and maybe they are living in a tent or something. They need a place to go to stay warm.”
In addition to the emergency shelter operations, The Salvation Army has prepared two “canteens” in case they need to be deployed. If there are power outages, or other emergencies, the canteens will provide coffee, hot chocolate and warm meals to the affected areas.
For More Salvation Army News Visit: salvationarmysouth.org