WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Cold temperatures with the wind created an extreme winter chill in Wichita and other areas of Kansas Saturday.
These conditions force many people to stay indoors, but for those with nowhere to go, the freeze can become a health concern.
On days like today more than 100 men and about 25 women will use the emergency winter shelters that stay open all day long to keep people out of these frigid temperatures.
27-year-old Patrick Hanks is volunteering Saturday at Inter-Faith’s men’s emergency shelter.
It’s where he’s also staying on extremely cold days, like today. It’s a warm welcome he and many others are thankful for.
“If it wasn’t for this, I’d be outside in the cold weather freezing, maybe on a slight chance of me being dead,” said Patrick Hanks, Wichita.
Hanks says he’s been here since last night when he started to notice the chill in town.
Typically the shelter is open in the evenings from November 1 to March 31, but when temperatures dip into the teens and single digits, it’s open all day.
“Anyone who needs a place to stay we will provide a place for them to get out of the elements, and have a place to have a mat and a blanket and a warm meal,” said Garland Egerton, Inter-Faith Ministries Executive Director.
The shelter, like the women’s emergency shelter, also opens on holidays when people may need a place to go.
Egerton says although these are days you can’t prepare for, the community also steps up and helps.
“We’re very fortunate that the community does step up and support us with the extra food for the meals, financial support, we have to pay staff and utilities to keep these facilities open,” said Egerton.
And it’s a stay the men say they very much appreciate.
“We all should be grateful for this place honestly,” said Hanks.