Code Purple gets ready to help warm up winter

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A purple light means it’s cold outside and Code Purple-affiliated shelters throughout the state will offer a warm place to sleep for the homeless. (Delaware State News file photo)

DOVER— With winter slowly approaching, the staff of Code Purple of Kent County is more than prepared for the upcoming season.

The initiative, which is now in its third year, provides temporary sanctuaries for the homeless when the temperature or wind chill drops below 32 degrees.

“It’s Code Purple season,” said Allan Angel, vice director of the organization. “We’re gearing up for this winter and plan to help any anyone in need.”

Several local churches already have volunteered to again serve as sanctuaries.

For women and children in Dover locations include Wesley United Methodist Church, Christ Church, Calvary

CODE PURPLE SITES -Calvary Baptist Church, 410 Fulton St., Dover -Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E. Mount Vernon St., Smyrna -Christ Church, 523 S. State St., Dover -Dover Presbyterian Church, 54 S. State St. (entrance is on Reed Street) -Milford Community Center, 105 N.E. Front St. -Salvation Army, 611 Forest St., Dover  -Wesley United Methodist, 209 S. State St., Dover (building behind the church on East North Street — purple lights in the window) -Wyoming United Methodist, 216 Wyoming Mill Road, Dover

CODE PURPLE SITES
-Calvary Baptist Church, 410 Fulton St., Dover
-Centennial United Methodist Church, 44 E. Mount Vernon St., Smyrna
-Christ Church, 523 S. State St., Dover
-Dover Presbyterian Church, 54 S. State St. (entrance is on Reed Street)
-Milford Community Center, 105 N.E. Front St.
-Salvation Army, 611 Forest St., Dover
-Wesley United Methodist, 209 S. State St., Dover (building behind the church on East North Street — purple lights in the window)
-Wyoming United Methodist, 216 Wyoming Mill Road, Dover

Baptist Church and the Salvation Army after Jan. 1.

The sanctuaries for men include Presbyterian Church of Dover and Wyoming United Methodist Church.

Other locations include the Milford Community Center and Centennial United Methodist Church in Smyrna.

The sanctuaries are intended as emergency tools to get the homeless off the streets and into warm places, where they can eat a warm meal and sleep, either on a cot or in a sleeping bag, until morning.

“We watch the weather 72 hours beforehand to help know when code purple will take effect,” said Rebecca Martin, director of the organization.

”We then send out flyers to various places like the police station, hospitals and churches to help get the word out there beforehand.”

Organizers have established a toll-free number, 800-733-6816, which will have a recording, updated daily when winter approaches, stating if the alert is in effect and what shelters are open.

The sanctuaries averaged a total of 75 people each night, said Ms. Martin.

“Last year we opened the day before Thanksgiving,” Ms. Martin said. “It didn’t end until about March.

“This year the weather has been very cooperative. Everyone keeps asking if we’ve opened yet, but the weather hasn’t reached that point yet. But all of the shelters are ready to go. We just continue to watch the weather.”

With colder weather right around the corner, the organization is holding several fundraisers and are seeking donations for supplies.

“Donations are everything,” Ms. Martin said. “We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the community’s involvement. Whenever we need something they’re always there to help out.”

The organization will hang scarves from the bridge on Loockerman Street all the way to the Duncan Center for those who may need it during the winter.

“We just want to keep people warm and help out as much as possible,” Ms. Martin said.

Ms. Martin said the organization’s ultimate goal is to help people in need all year round.

“The word is getting out there,” Ms. Martin said. More and more people are willing to help. We hope to have sanctuaries where people can go and eat every day, or a place that’s open all the time that will do away the homelessness.

“That would be wonderful.”

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