Local homeless shelters packed to the brim thanks to frigid temps

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News 12 First at Five/ January 7, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga.--Thanks to the frigid temperatures, local shelters have been extending their services and hours.

Major Tony Perez, the Augusta Area Commander for the Salvation Army says they've been busier than ever the past couple of days. He says, Monday night, there wasn't a bed to spare in their shelter.

"We have 48 beds just in this room, plus another 20-25 mats. We used everything we have. All our pillows, blankets, towels, everything we have to give out to people, and that never happens," Perez said.

For families going through tough times, those spare pillows and blankets are life savers.

"I'm thankful for being here and I'm glad they've got a place like this to help families and mothers with kids in a time of need," one woman staying at the shelter told us.

For many, the difference between a warm cozy home and being forced into the streets is just a paycheck away. But, this year, the Salvation Army in Augusta is also living on a shoestring budget. They rely on holiday donations from their kettle collections, and this season, they came up short.

"We ended up being about $22,000 short in cash donations and so going through the rest of this year, making some hard decisions and managing what we have," Perez said.

They're gearing up for another full house Tuesday night, but if winter continues to be this brutal, they're going to need more donations to make it through.

"In these moments of inclement weather when our services ramp up, we really need the help of our community to continue to support us," Perez said.

The Salvation Army has extra staff on hand, and as long as they have the space, anyone is welcome to come to the shelter. They're located at 1384 Greene Street in Augusta. They also say they could more cash donations as well as blankets, pillows, and towels.