Downtown Rescue Mission works to keep our community warm this winter

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- These cold temperatures have us bundling up and turning on the heat, but some in our area are going without  warm blankets or coats this winter. Downtown Rescue Mission is working to keep our community warm.

Drew Wiley is a resident of Downtown Rescue Mission's recovery program, he said the program saved his life.

"I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't. I'd be dead," Wiley said. "It's too rough out there on the streets, and you add the cold temperatures on top of it. It's horrible."

Tylor Jones, the Director of Media Outreach at Downtown Rescue Mission, said over 200 people stay at the mission every night, some trying to avoid the dangers of the cold, others avoiding the costs.

"We see a lot more people, either who are homeless or who just can't afford to keep their heat on all day long, who will be coming to the mission to get that warm nights sleep, and also a hot meal," Jones said.

Wiley washes hundreds of blankets every day to be passed out again each night, but he says some still go without.

"We could use more blankets, yes. We run out every night," Wiley said.

He said that while a warm blanket may not seem like a lot, it can mean everything.

"It's very hard to sleep on the floors, even though we give them a mat. And they're trying to hold down a job and I don't see how they do it. I really don't," Wiley said. "But, on the other hand, it is warm, and it's a place."

The mission said will never turn anyone away, they say if you have an I.D., you have a place to stay.

With temperatures continuing to drop, the Agape Shop at Downtown Rescue Mission, is offering people in our community an alternative to the steep price tags of winter gear.

"The Agape Shop is a place where people in the community can come looking for resources, clothing, things of that nature," Jones said.

The name Agape, references the ultimate form of love in the Bible. The shop gives those in need the warm clothes at no cost.

"People can come all year round, typically though during the winter we have an influx of people who are looking for that cold weather gear," Jones said. "It's a little more expensive, so they're able to come here and get that for free."

To shop all you need is your I.D., and the shop will give you up to two items a month. The store gives away between 200 and 450 items a day.

"These clothes are given by donations," Jones said. "From people in the community who have knowledge of the need we have here, and all the people that we serve."

Donated items may also go to one of the rescue mission thrift stores, where those proceeds go directly back to the mission to provide food, clothing, and shelter to our community.

You can donate blankets, coats and other items at the Downtown Rescue Mission. They said they appreciate all donation and will be happy to give you a tax-deductible receipt.