Can you imagine not having a warm place to stay during times like this cold snap, just before the holidays? The Open Door Mission is now under a code blue alert which means it is widening its outreach and adding additional beds as well as stocking up on extra food and clothing.

As the bitter cold sets in, the Open Door Mission is now under a code blue alert.

The shelter is increasing its outreach to area homeless and adding additional beds to accommodate them. The shelter is doubling its efforts, making sure that space will not be a problem and that there will be food and clothing for all.

"I once was homeless once before, ten years ago, and the Open Door Mission opened their doors for me," says Kenneth Lavan, case manager at the shelter. "They gave me the chance to get my life in order."

Now, Lavan is the one caring for the homeless. "We just give our heart out. We just show what love and compassion is so that makes it easy to work with people."

The shelter is under a code blue alert until Friday. The alert is used when temperatures dip down below 20 degrees.

As the thermometer dips, the number of homeless people turning into shelters to stay warm goes up. The Open Door Mission says they are ready.

"We can house up to 40 men but during the course of code blue, we can house up to 30 more men, giving us a total of 70 men that we can keep out of the cold for tonight," says Lavan.

The shelter has a strong commitment to not turning people away -- even if they've reached capacity.

"We try to reach out to other shelters, so they can take home some of the overflow," he says.

For the next few days, the temperatures will be so cold it could put people at risk for hypothermia and frost bite if exposed for too long -- and the homeless are most vulnerable. During this season of giving, Lavan is asking you to remember those who are in need.

"We hate that somebody comes in on winter months in desperate need of hat, gloves and such and we hate to say we just don't have it," he says.

If you have anything to donate, you can drop off things like coats, gloves or hats, Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the caring center on Plymouth Avenue.


Open Door Mission website