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Salvation Army Warming Center Ready For Bitter Cold

December 27, 2013, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Salvation Army Warming Center Ready For Bitter Cold

Nearly two weeks have passed since the warming center at the Salvation Army opened up for the year, and it opened just in time as sub-zero temperatures entered the area.

"The first couple of nights, we only had about 40 people. Now, we're up to the mid 80's and that's pretty consistent regardless of the temperatures at this point," Darlos Cook said.

Over the past week, the center has added extra cots in the shelter, preparing for the colder temperatures to come.

Even then, it expects to go over capacity.

"On the nights when it's really, really cold, like the ones coming up, we do get so many people that we run out of cots and they sleep on the floor on mats or on blankets," Cook said.

For the people who use the shelter, they appreciate the chance to have a warm bed for rest.

"Oh, I'd probably be laying by some street corner freezing like an ice cube," Rudolph Crow said.

"Many of them would've frozen to death if we weren't here. A lot of them sleep under bridges, in the woods. It gets really cold, it gets very wet," Cook said.

Cook has worked at the warming center for four years, and she sees first hand what the center provides for those who have nowhere else to go.

"All those things you complain about, like the closet door doesn't slide correctly or the window doesn't close right. Really? You're inside. It's comfortable, it's warm, you're safe," Cook said.

"I thank Sioux Falls for being such a generous society, for giving us a place to come and gain life," Crow said.

It does not take long for the warming center to fill to capacity. Once the doors open, it is a steady stream of people looking to find a warm place to stay for the night.

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