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Rowan Helping Ministries’ doors are always open

SALISBURY — As a week of startlingly low temperatures continues, Rowan Helping Ministries is working to keep people prepared for and sheltered from the cold.

The shelter, 217 N. Long St., is different from other shelters with strict time limits for those receiving assistance.

“We are a 24-hour shelter, so we’re always open,” said Executive Director Kyna Grubb. “That’s great both in the middle of the summer and in the middle of winter.”

Grubb said the number of guests at the shelter has not increased significantly because of the recent frigid cold. Currently, the shelter has 94 guests, an increase of only five to six, she said.

“We have been told oftentimes that for those who are homeless or potentially homeless, landlords are working with them to make sure they don’t lose their housing this time of year,” Grubb said. “There is a humanity that says, ‘Let’s provide shelter.'”

Grubb said this humanity can be offered by friends and family members in times of crisis. Many, she said, are temporarily more willing to open their homes in harsh weather.

“I don’t think we’re used to this level of cold in the South,” Grubb said.

Grubb said she’s noted a definite shift this year in Rowan County residents’ concern for neighbors. Everyone is checking on their neighbors, she said, making sure they have what they need to “weather the weather.”

Rowan Helping Ministries’ staff works to keep people in their homes as well. Through its crisis assistance center, the agency offers emergency financial assistance to pay for utilities and rent to qualifying people.

Financial support is available through crisis intervention funding or through funding provided by Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas’ “Share the Warmth” grant program, Grubb said.

Rowan Helping Ministries also provides firewood to those who heat their homes with wood heat. The wood is made available through donations and local partnerships.

Though the shelter’s numbers haven’t increased, Grubb said the number of winter clothing items distributed through the ministry’s clothing closet has.

“We’re of course very appreciative of all the coat drives and all the community members who’ve crocheted and knitted hats and scarves for us this year,” Grubb said.

The clothing closet has been giving out an abundance of gloves, socks, coats, scarves and hats, she said.

“We can always use coats this time of year,” she said. “If someone got a new coat for Christmas and would like to donate their old one, we just ask that it be clean and in good condition.”

Donations may be brought to Rowan Helping Ministries’ Ralph W. Ketner Center at 226 N. Long St. Drop-offs can be made at the receiving dock adjacent to Liberty Street.

To schedule a special delivery, contact Karen Taylor at 704-637-6838, Ext. 100, or at ktaylor@rowanhelpingministries.org.

Contact reporter Andie Foley at 704-797-4246.

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