Abilene Salvation Army seeing more guests escaping the cold while practicing COVID-19 safety measures

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- While COVID-19 is still a major concern for many people, the cold is also adding to the number of people seeking shelter at the Salvation Army, making it harder to social distance.

On a typical day, those that stay at the Salvation Army in Abilene overnight are required to leave by 7 AM.

“During weather like this we allow our building to be a warming station,” says Joshua Mckain, Salvation Army Corps Officer.

The salvation army is the largest overnight emergency shelter in the Big Country with 108 beds and even more cots.

“We’ve been doing a sleeping head to toe type thing to keep people from being head to head. Our staff and our team here have been wearing masks and trying to eliminate the contact as much as possible,” says Mckain

The cold weather is bringing in more people and making social distancing a bit of a challenge.

“When we come into the dining room, we can’t have any more than 40 people in the dining room and sometimes that takes shifts,” says McKain.

The shelter gives guests a warm meal and a place to sleep.

“This was kind of the church of last resort for me,” says Don White, a Salvation Army Guest.

White is a former preacher and says this has been his blessing in disguise.

“My ministry is mainly homeless people. I fit right in here. This time I got to experience what they do and I believe God was in that,” says White.

The Salvation Army says through the entire pandemic they have not had to turn a person away.

“All my needs have been met and they’ve been very compassionate, good people, and I trust them,” says White.

Because of this early cold weather The Salvation Army is low on coats.

They also say they’ve completely run out of PPE, specifically masks.

They’re always accepting donations at their location on Butternut.

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