ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- With air temperatures in the negative digits and wind chill readings expected to dip down to about 40 below on Thursday and Friday St Cloud homeless shelters need volunteers to help them keep everyone safe.

The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.

Place of Hope Ministries Pastor Carol Smith says they want to make sure they have enough room at the inn prior to Christmas. They are located at 511 9th Avenue North. Use Door #4.

She says they can house up to 200 people in their regular shelter and they just got approved by the city to take an extra 40 people in a temporary overflow shelter.

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic they used to run a Church of the Week program where they would send about 30 people to various churches to spend the night, but that program ended at the start of the pandemic.  Smith says she's hoping to get those same churches to help now by sending volunteers to her building to help out.  A group from the First Presbyterian Church just signed up to volunteer for a shift.

Volunteers can sign up for a four-hour shift to support the existing staff with things like doing laundry and other clean up.  They also help to serve and prepare food.

Place Of Hope serves 500 meals a day.

To volunteer to help you can call (320) 204-9046

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If you aren't able to volunteer time a monetary donation would help to buy food for the meals.  They are also in need of new mats for the people to sleep on with the ones they currently have being well-used.

Place of Hope does communicate with the other shelters in town.  Smith says Lincoln Center can hold another seven overnight guests and the Salvation Army about 50.

Smith says people in the community like taxi drivers and public transportation drivers are good about letting the homeless know where to go if they don't already.

Smith says we have to be humane and help the homeless, especially during this stretch of very dangerous deadly cold weather.

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