Cold and without a home

Posted By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Wintertime brings drop in temperature, which means an increase in those looking for shelter at East Texas charities. Area organizations such as P.A.T.H., the East Texas Rescue Mission and the Salvation Army are all gearing up to accommodate larger crowds this winter.

Don Yarbrough has survived spring rains and endured summer heat, but now he says enough is enough.

"When it gets real cold like tonight, it's gonna get real cold out there, and…I only have that one blanket and I had to do something real quick," he explained.

So Yarbrough left his "home," made up of a table and some chairs His only shelter was some carpet padding on a mattress.

"It keeps the water off most times when it's not real raining," Yarbrough said.

His only vanity is a shaving mirror.

"Like I said, it's time to move on out of here," says Yarbrough, "There's nothing too much now here."

On cold nights, Yarbrough is staying at the East Texas Rescue Mission.

"The guys who would be staying outside when it's cold are coming in now," says Director Tony Chung, "All year long we've been preparing for that."

Forty-one new beds are ready to be filled at the mission, nearly doubling its capacity. A slow but steady trickle of donations keeps the mission operating, but also creates constant shortages.

"We look at how many blankets we have [and] how many pillows we have...we just don't have any coats or sweaters just warm clothing," Chung adds.

At the Salvation Army, donations are ready for the crowds, which are increasing by the economic downturn.

"We're seeing a lot of people coming in for assistance with rent utilities, but we also have a lot of people coming in losing their homes and need shelter," explained Steve Houston.

They may not have clothing, but P.A.T.H. or People Attempting to Help is doing their part, by stocking up on blankets they are ready help those who need it most.

"It's awful down there it's not good for anybody," Yarbrough says, "I wouldn't want anybody to have a life like mine."

Administrators of PATH, the East Texas Rescue Mission and Salvation Army say the best way to help are simple donations of winter clothing - especially gloves, blankets, and winter hats along with food. For the East Texans who do have places to stay this holiday season but are short of money, both PATH and Salvation Army are using monetary donations to buy propane to heat homes of the less fortunate.

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