Community reaches out to help homeless on cold, frigid days

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Meteorologists of 4 Warn Weather say the coldest weather of the winter is upon us. It can be tough for some to deal with it for a few minutes; but imagine if you had to stay out in it.

Many people in the community are reaching out to help those who are less fortunate during this time.

Raymond Sliwinski was one of many people that got a hot meal from the Salvation Army Monday night.

Sliwinski doesn’t have a place to call home. He told News 4 that when it’s cold like it is this week, he gets worried.

“If you fall asleep, you’re afraid of not waking up. And if you walk around, you sweat. Then if you sit down you get cold. So it’s really hard,” he said.

Sliwinski found shelter at one of the Code Blue centers on Monday. “I’m going to Saint Luke’s. I’m also going to help those guys out and put up all of the cots,” he said.

The Buffalo City Mission and St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy were the Code Blue warming shelters that were open Monday night. Code Blue goes into effect when the weather is expected to be below 15 degrees.

On Monday, outreach crews went out to find anyone who’s homeless and took them to a shelter. However some people choose to stay.

“It’s everyone’s decision to sleep where they want,” Sarah Gorry, the homeless outreach case manager for the Matt Urban Hope Center, said. “We make sure that safety is the number one priority. We usually bring socks and we always have coffee and warm drinks so that they remain safe, while staying outside.”

The Salvation Army also gave out warm food and clothes to those in need.

“We try to bring blankets, hats, gloves and hand warmers, anything we can for anyone’s situation when they walk up,” Andrea Glinksi, the Red Kettle and volunteer coordinator with the Salvation Army, said.

Sliwinski said he’s grateful for all of the kind faces and helping hands that get him through the tough winter days.

“They treat you great. God bless these people because if it wasn’t for them there would be a lot of homeless dead people out here,” Sliwinski said.

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