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NORFOLK -- Norfolk's Union Mission won't turn away anyone who needs help, particularly in this frigid weather.

With the recent freezing temperatures, the charity has seen an increase in the number of people it is helping.

Atransfer station opened in downtown Norfolk to get the more than 550 homeless in the city to the Mission.

The shelter can use donations of socks, blankets, winter clothing and items for the building at 5100Va. Beach Blvd. - like a TVset - and toys.

Dominion Power, meantime, has donated $50,000 to the Union Mission and volunteers have been working at the transfer station to weather proof the facility to make it as energy efficient as possible.

'We helped build the wall where the fire truck doors used to be and are making sure the walls, doors and windows are all properly insulated,'said spokeswoman Bonita Billingsley-Harris.

In addition, about two dozen Dominion volunteers are pitching in to do the work, which includes building two new walls and installing weather stripping and other insulation and weatherization projects.

The Transfer Center provides 24-hour emergency housing until guests can be transferred to the main Union Mission building.

'The new Union Mission Transfer Center will provide a much-needed presence in the downtown area, which is critical to our ability to effectively handle the needs of the downtown homeless population,' said Linda Bashford Vaughan, executive director of Union Mission.

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