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Salvation Army asks for public help to keep overnight shelters open

This overflow center opened as an emergency, when the Chattanooga Community Kitchen notified the Salvation Army that they were unable to take any more guests. (Image WTVC)

Volunteers with the Salvation Army opened an emergency cold shelter Friday night, after hearing the Chattanooga Community Kitchen was overflowed. The organization did so with a struggle.

Danny Mingo is managing Saturday night's emergency overflow center. He's part of a re-start center program within the organization.

"I'm looking for a job," he said. "I'm seeking to get back on my feet. The Salvation Army is helping aid me in that."

He too is aiding the Salvation Army by helping those in need find a warm place to stay. Mingo says he does it, because the Salvation Srmy did the same for his family when he was growing up.

"Beyond aiding the homeless as a Christian, that's my mission," he explained. "Beyond that is giving back what they gave to my family, and I feel real, real good about that."

The challenge: the non-profit says these shelters cost a pretty penny to run.

"It's somewhere just north of $500 to run the shelter efficiently overnight," said Kimberly George, a spokesperson for the organization. That's $500 for just one night. It all goes toward warm food and drinks, as well as the blankets and cots that are scattered inside of the shelter's building.

"We are planning on being open for several nights this week," said George. That's because temperatures in the Tennessee Valley are expected to stay below freezing for the next few days. That's why the organization is asking for your help, to help others.

Mingo, especially wants the shelters to stay open. He doesn't want to see a family like his struggling in the cold.

"Tonight [Saturday night} we gonna have a full shelter."

George says money is the best way to donate to the Salvation Army, although they do appreciate donations in the form of blankets and warm clothing. You can make donations on their website, or in person.

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