By Alicia Neaves
ODESSA - As the Permian Basin gears up for our first freeze on Tuesday night, many are finding themselves without food, water and most importantly, some place warm to sleep.
The Salvation Army is gearing up to give them a place to stay as the temperatures drop to the 20's; many are in need of simply the bare necessities.
As the Permian Basin bundles up for its first freeze, many are still in need of the basics: warm clothes, warm food, a warm shower and a safe place to sleep.
To remedy this need, the Salvation Army provides all of the above.
"Whenever we have freezing temperatures or we get around freezing, we open up the doors and allow anybody and everybody to come in and stay at the shelter. We have plenty of beds and we have air mattresses that we blow up in case we have overflow," Lt. Joe Contreras with the Odessa Salvation Army, said.
Contreras says that in any case of overflow - which is unlikely - they set up beds in the gymnasium to prevent anyone sleeping without a bed.
Services like these have been provided by the Salvation Army since the late 1880's when it was founded by General William Booth and they continue nearly 130 years later.
In fact, at the Odessa location, Salvation Army officials just finished their Coats for Kids Drive. Now they are fully stocked with warm clothing for all shapes and sizes. All you have to do is stop in and ask.
One interesting fact that Contreras shared was that the face of homelessness in Odessa has changed.
"Everywhere else, you think of a homeless person, you think of somebody who is out in the streets who doesn't have a job, who doesn't have anything. People here in Odessa, we see families that are coming in to work," Contreras said.
Many with full-time jobs utilize the services because the cost of living in the Basin is simply unaffordable.
"The main thing for everybody to know is that we're here. We're here for them. So if you're out there and you need a place to stay and we're getting down to freezing, our doors are open. Come on in," Contreras said.
The Salvation Army has locations in Odessa, Midland and Big Spring and all offer shelters.
The doors open at 5 p.m. and dinner is served from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. showers are provided after 6 p.m. and the doors close at 9 p.m.