Homeless shelters and mobile meals overwhelmed

Willie Thomas
Willie Thomas

(WTOL) - Sub-zero temperatures are life-threatening. That's why homeless shelters are packed and a food service for the elderly is feeding more people.

Cherry Street Mission

Willie Thomas has come in from the cold to stay at the Cherry Street Mission in downtown Toledo. He says being outside and homeless when the temperature turns frigid makes you sick and miserable. "Well, I worry mostly about freezing and frostbite," he told News 11.

Last night, nearly 200 men came in off the street to stay warm at the mission. In the last year, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of homeless staying here.

It's because of the bad economy, but now the cold weather is bringing in even more people.

"Anybody will tell you it's treacherous. Not anywhere to go. Trying to find a job in Toledo is scarce," Shawn Levi said who is staying at the shelter.

Things won't change at the mission until the economy improves and the temperature rises. Another resident of the shelter, Ali Robbins said, "It's really treacherous out there. I'm on a bicycle. Gotta watch out for myself and cars sliding by."

The mission hopes there will be an increase in donations to handle the strain of being filled to capacity.

Mobile Meals

"Here at Mobile Meals, the demand always goes up when the temperature drops. The 600 volunteers here are delivering more food," Maureen Stevens said.

Eighty percent of their clients are elderly. Many of the newcomers don't make it to the grocery store when it turns cold. "People are tied to their home a little more," says Stevens, "It's more difficult to get out in the snow. We serve more people in the winter."

That's what mobile meals and the Cherry Street Mission are all about: serving others. No matter what the temperature may be.