NORFOLK, Va. — When the temperatures drop in the winter, it means it's almost that time of year for Anne Odell and the rest of the Norfolk Emergency Shelter Team to get ready to open and serve thousands of homeless citizens for the winter.
"NEST really is a collaboration between 40 churches and synagogues," said Odell. "Last year we provided about 13,000 bed nights during our season."
According to the Union Ministries in Norfolk, there were about 1,200 homeless citizens counted for 2016. More than a hundred of those were veterans.
"During the winter, we have generally about 120 people each night at NEST," Odell said.
Helping those people are volunteers like Odell. And, to provide for them, NEST relies on donations and help from the community.
It's crucial for NEST to get those donations so they can give out clothing and items so that keep cam people warm as temperatures continue to dip.
"The community can provide the things that we need, the resources that we need, to help the homeless. Those resources are hats, gloves, scarves and socks. The things you really need in the winter to stay warm and dry," said Odell.
With the items and a place to sleep, NEST also feeds them hot meals. Although it'll be about another month before those church and synagogue doors open, Odell said they're already gearing up.
Odell said NEST doesn't start until Dec. 4, but they're already accepting those donations right now. So, if you'd like to drop donations off, you can do so at Ghent Area Ministries Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.