Shelters Expecting More Guests As Temps Drop
As the temperature continues to drop, homeless shelters are seeing an increase in drop-ins the past few nights.
We stopped by several shelters and resource centers to ask if they had adequate amounts of volunteer help as the winter season approaches.
We met Karan Batterton standing in line at the Union Gospel Mission, waiting for a hot meal .
Batterton said she's been on the streets for about 4 years, and has always found shelter at the mission.
"It's a roof over our heads right now, and everything," said Batterton, "But I really feel sorry for all of these people that have nobody or no place to go."
The mission in Yakima can house just over 150 people, but that number has reached as high as several hundred in the past -- especially in the winter.
And with more people seeking shelter, the need for more volunteers becomes more critical.
"This time of year, we have more local people that volunteer, they are usually here more around the holidays," said Project Coordinator Marvin Lindley, "We would love to see them the rest of the year too. So the need does increase somewhat this time of year."
Just like the Union Gospel Mission, Rod's House -- a local resource center for children, says it expects its numbers to increase dramatically.
The only difference is they don't have as many volunteers.
"Depending on who the players are, depending on who's here, things can get pretty hectic," said Rod's House Director Jill Sunwold, "So yes, the need for volunteers is very real. And it's also -- it's a hard volunteer job though."
Shelters tell us they are fine for now.
However, if they do not have enough volunteers by the time winter settles in, some homeless men women and children may have to be turned away.
Karan Batterton says she will be sleeping in a warm bed tonight, and appreciates all the help charities like these have provided her over the past four years.
"I thank the lord for everybody that helps," said Batterton, "And people just don't realize that there are a lot of those people out there."
If you'd like to volunteer this holiday season, you can fill out an application at your local shelter.
Here are a few of the many shelters and resource centers looking for volunteers:
Benton Franklin Community Action Committee - Emergency shelter
Generating Hope - Drop-in shelter
Rod's House - Drop-in resource center for children and teens
Sunrise Outreach Center - Provides extreme weather shelter
Tri-City Union Gospel Mission - Shelter for the homeless
Yakima Union Gospel Mission - Shelter for the homeless
YWCA - Shelter for victims of domestic violence