When extreme cold arrived in York County this week, the York Rescue Mission began getting a lot of phone calls.
"People were asking, 'What can we do for the shelter and what can we do for the homeless?'" said Dianne Smeigh, the mission's spokeswoman. "(Callers) know that people are in need and there are some things we can use right now to help them."
Because of the cold, more people have been stopping by the mission for a warm place to sit, to use the restrooms and to eat a hot meal, she said.
The mission, at 367 W. Market St. in York City, is collecting donations of blankets, hats, coats and gloves to distribute to families and individuals in need.
Also needed are milk, orange and apple juices, tea bags, frozen meals and meat, especially ground beef, ham and turkey. The mission needs toilet and facial tissue, as well as cleaning supplies such as high-efficiency laundry soap, dish soap and disinfecting wipes and cleaning supplies, Smeigh said.
While the mission recently held a food drive during the holiday season, donations were down, and the recent single-digit temperatures have increased needs at the facility other than what was gathered during the drive, Smeigh said.
So far, the mission has seen an increase in the number of transients staying at its shelter since the cold weather moved into the area, the Rev. Paul Gorog, executive director, said this week.
He said about 18 or 20 people typically spend the night, but there were 27 on Monday night, which was up from 23 Sunday night and 20 Saturday night.
There hasn't been an influx of men staying at the shelter since Monday, he said.
However, the mission has 28 "transient beds" available for men who need a warm place to sleep. There also is room to place an additional 40 mattresses on the mission's chapel floor to accommodate overflow.
The mission also has shelter for women and children at 17 Jefferson Ave. in the city, Smeigh said.
Winter-related donations also will be used to help people who stay in the shelters, she said.
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.