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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Odessa Salvation Army turning into a 24-hour emergency warming shelter for winter weather

The shelter has food, water, and hygiene kits for anyone who needs it.

ODESSA, Texas — Usually, the Odessa Salvation Army kitchen smells of lots of food for the hungry. 

But for the past few weeks, they haven't been open overnight.

They've been finding other community partners and paying hotels to help take care of the homeless while they've been getting ready for a new fire sprinkler system renovation inside.

"When we found out that this storm was coming, we reached out to the Fire Marshal's Office. We reached out to the City of Odessa and made a plan to come together to be able to not only house those that are in need of a place to stay because they have nowhere to go, but also those who might have somewhere to stay regularly, but it's not warm enough," Juan Gomez, Odessa Salvation Army president said.

They kicked into high gear early this week.

"Our staff has come in, they've started to make sure everything is cleaned, disinfected, just moments ago we were at Sam's Club buying some things for our soup kitchen to make sure that our soup kitchen is prepped for the overflow," Gomez said.

COVID-19  has unfortunately been a risk for most of their elderly volunteers, so they're a little short-handed.

"We are going to prepare for a full shelter, however, we have to keep in mind social distancing and we have to make sure that we do not compromise the safety of those who are coming to our doorsteps," Gomez said.

They know their role in the community and they know their time to serve is now, so if they have to abandon other plans, they will do exactly that.