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Salvation Army Warming Center Saw Increase In People

April 2, 2014, 7:09 AM by Brittany Larson

Salvation Army Warming Center Saw Increase In People
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Major Betty Bender from the Salvation Army saw first-hand those who were affected by the cold winter.

"A lot of the blankets people took with them because these are just a portion of the blankets that were used in the warming center," Bender said.

She added that the bitter cold temps forced many to people to seek shelter, especially when the temperature dropped below zero.

"The people, well they were just very anxious for us to open and we actually, this year, had larger numbers than we have ever had before. We averaged 76 a night and last year we averaged 50 a night and we had a high of 108, which we have never had before," Bender said.

And they would keep coming back, grateful they wouldn't have to spend a night out in the cold.

"A number of them were here all of time, although we did serve around 520 different individuals in the warming center so that gives you some idea the need. And the staff got to know them and when they came in they were able to write their name down without asking them what it was," Bender said.

The warming center is now closed for the season.

"Once the night temperature got up to 28 degrees we looked at that ok it's time to close," Bender said.

And now that it’s spring, she's hopeful the temps will stay above zero.

"The people who come here are really good people and they just need a break and to be out in the winter weather without a place to be is just awful," Bender said.
 

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