OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Our extreme cold is putting the heat on resources at Omaha's Open Door Mission.
The weather has driven up the number of overnight guests in the past week.
"Frigid weather like this means that people on the streets, no matter their age or health, simply get way too cold for their own good," said Open Door Mission President/CEO Candace Gregory. "Hypothermia -- a body temperature under 95 degrees Farenheit--can kick in when the air temperature is still 50 degrees. Frostbite begins when skin temperature is 23 degrees or less for even a short while. That's why keeping people warm and covered is so important this time of year."
According to the National HealthCare for the Homeless Council, an average 700 homeless people die each year from exposure to the cold. "Hypothermia can result in heart arrhythmia. Untreated frostbite can easily become gangrene," noted Gregory. "Simple interventions can save lives and public expense.
"That's why Open Door Mission is proactive to keep homeless neighbors in our community safe and warm. We've pulled overflow mats out of storage for homeless men, women and children to have a place of safe shelter with us. Volunteers and chefs are busy preparing food to serve more meals to those who are hungry. We're handing out coats, hats, mittens and gloves to each guest who is leaving the campus to make sure they stay covered and warm against the cold."
The current number of homeless guests at Open Door Mission has created a need for pillows, blankets, towels and toilet paper. Donations are being accepted at any of Open Door Mission's four Family Outreach Centers Tuesday - Thursday from 9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., and Friday - Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.:
Timberlake Outreach Center Receiving Area
- 2107 E Locust St
- Omaha, NE 68110
- (402) 829-1510
Council Bluffs Family Outreach/Donation Center
- Mli>1612 Avenue D
- Council Bluffs, IA 51501
- (402) 867-1050
Elkhorn Family Outreach/Donation Center
- 1620 N 203rd St
- Elkhorn, NE 68022
- (402) 972-8710
South Omaha Family Outreach/Donation Center
- 2910 K St
- Omaha, NE 68107, Corner of 30th and L
- (402) 881-8232
Monetary gifts can be made online or over the phone at 402-422-1111 (ask for extension 1499).