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Winter Storm Izzy emergency homeless shelter opening Saturday

The Mount Airy Men’s Shelter has announced an impromptu shelter for the homeless of Mount Airy to offer some of those in need a roof over their head during Winter Storm Izzy. “Snow Camp” will be opening this evening at 6 p.m. to offer shelter and food through the upcoming winter weather event.

The shelter will be located at 443 West Pine Street, Mount Airy and those in need can begin arriving tonight at 6 p.m. “It is a Men’s Shelter project, but its open to any homeless that need it.” Those in need can simply arrive to the home Simmons said.

“We are calling the shelter ‘Snow Camp’ and it will continue through Wednesday, if temperatures are below 30°. We have the house locked in,” Ann Simmons said – with that hurdle overcome, they need to get the word out quickly.

Simmons of the Men’s Shelter said their board member Theresa Gray has generously donated the use an empty home for the homeless to use. This is an on-the-fly shelter that this group is putting together to serve a very real need, and the wheels of this plan have been turning quickly.

Just this morning they opted to open their shelter tonight as opposed to tomorrow as Izzy is eyeing an earlier start.

Izzy is projected to be a snow event beginning Sunday morning, and the chance of ice being part of the day’s mix of precipitation seems more likely based on the 4 a.m. projections from the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va.

“We are gearing up to provide cots and meals,” Simmons said. Her group came into possession of a number of cots from a previous iteration of ‘A Room at the Inn’ held in Mount Airy. When that group was no longer able to host the homeless shelter due to the pandemic, they donated the unused cots to the Mount Airy Men’s Shelter.

For this popup shelter she added, “Any support by the community would be welcome.” When talking through the organization of the plan, Simmons noted that Mount Airy Men’s Shelter has taken in donations as they wait for their permanent location for a homeless men’s shelter. That means, much of what is needed is on hand, “We will have the cots and bedding. Extra blankets and pillows would be great.”

Foodstuffs are welcome as the group is unsure what the turnout may be, or for how long it may be needed. They have asked for a mixture of nonperishable items but also need the items for an overnight stay that may last more than one night. “We will accept food, continental breakfast muffins, granola bars fruits donuts. Beverages like ground coffee, bottled water, cocoa mix, tea bags, sugar, and creamer. Casseroles, precooked canned foods, bread, peanut butter, jelly, lunch meat, desserts, mayo, mustard.”

The shelter needs some people power as well. They need people to spend a few hours in the day or evening, helpers to disinfect things continually, and help with the meals. Reach the Men’s Shelter of Mount Airy at 336-708-5777, or if you have questions, or want to offer support.



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