CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/ FOX 28)–With winter just around the corner, one Corridor shelter is working around the clock to make sure they are ready to hand out coats and blankets next week.
Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids started moving items from their old 1st Avenue location to the new building on B Avenue NE over a month ago.
They were unable to hand out clothes and even some food items this past month because they were moving things to the new location. They were planning on “officially” opening a week from Monday but Mother Nature had a different plan. Now, they will be opening their clothes closet and food pantry on Monday.
“We didn’t plan on opening Monday but because the weather is gonna be so cold we’re in a rush to get this closet open,” Sandy Mills said.
Mills has spent the last month organizing the clothes closet,”This is a God-sent what we have here,” she said. “I’m kinda like let’s colorize, size and divide it up.”
Volunteers spent their Friday unpacking boxes, hanging clothes and putting food on the shelves.
“It’ll make it easy if they come in and want a coat or they would need long underwear. We can direct them exactly where they need to be,” Mills said.
Mission of Hope Executive Director Martin Dwyer said they have been monitoring the weather since the leaves changed but they weren’t expecting a cold snap to change their plans.
“We are really gearing up to get warm clothes out there,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer said they have enough warm clothes to keep folks warm next week but they’ll need more donations for the winter season.
“We will be giving out a lot of blankets and sweatshirts. Then we’ll watch again for the next cold spell,” he said.
It’s just a matter of time before they’ll need more food and coat donations to help people like Darrin Murray who volunteers and lives at the Mission of Hope shelter.
“They’ve given me a place to stay out of the cold,” Murray said. “I was sleeping in my car first.”
Dwyer said they’ve always found a place for someone to sleep so they won’t have to sleep in the snow.
“We’ve never had to say no,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to see anybody sleeping out in the cold.”
Mills said they need more items like hats, gloves, socks, long underwear, blankets and sleeping bags.
She says “think layers” because many people will wear layers to keep warm during the winter. She also says they need size men XL/XXL coats and sweatshirts.