The city’s largest homeless shelter is requesting the public’s help. A Friday night fire forced those without a place to live out of the Center of Hope and into temporary shelter at the Kroc Center.
The families, more than 100 people, now fill the Kroc Center. That number could grow to close to 200 as colder and wet weather is expected this week. So the Salvation Army needs donations to try to operate as normal as possible while being displaced.
“There is no electricity for the foreseeable future,” said Captain Philip Canning, The Salvation Army of Augusta Area Commander.
One the night of the fire, 172 men, women and children were displaced. That remained through the weekend. Now, Captain Canning is reaching out to the community for help with specific needs.
“The best way for the public to help is through financial donations because we’re able to take that money and get exactly what we need, exactly when we need it in the exact quantities that we need it,” he said. “We do need day-to-day items, things such as new towels, new wash cloths, toiletry type items.”
And some donations have already rolled into the Kroc Center, but they need more. Partnerships help too as Canning explained they operate the largest shelter in town.
“WalMart provided breakfast the first morning,” he said. “A & A Vending donated food items as well. Golden Harvest Food Bank opened up for us to get food product and some supplies.”
Colder and wet weather is expected this week adding to the facility issues because more people could come to the Kroc Center, which has its own normal operations. Captain Canning said the nearby Chapel will serve as a day shelter.
There are about 11 beds at Augusta Rescue Mission, but it’s for men only.
“They [have to] have a shelter clearance, [then] they can come on down here. Police department closes at 5 o’clock. We start taking people at 3:30, so from 3:30 to 6:30 you can check in. If you’d like to have dinner, you have to be here before 5 and we’d be more than happy to feed you and we also provide breakfast for you in the morning,” said Chaplain Mike Barr.
Men also need to take a breathalizer and have their bags checked. All phones are taken at night too and there is a 15 day minimum. Afterwards, men can’t return until the next calendar year.
There are 15 beds available at Augusta Rescue Mission.
Women can go to several places:
Safe Homes, Interfaith, Head of the Giant, Julie’s House, Mercy Ministries, Family Promise, Hope House and Nurture Home in Aiken, SC.
Captain Canning said as of now, it could take a few more hours or up to four months to restore the Center of Hope. All donations can be taken to the Kroc Center.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins