Decatur nonprofit caught off guard by cold, desperate for donations

DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – A Decatur nonprofit says it is in desperate need of community donations after being caught off guard by this week’s cold snap.

“Funding is pretty much non-existent right now,” says Sue Terrell, director of Hands Across Decatur (HAD). “If we don’t have it, volunteers will buy it.”

She says they are not funded by the city or county and operate solely with the help of volunteers and the community.

Terrell says they’re running out of everything from food in the pantry to clothes to keep people warm. And inflation makes exploitation more difficult.

“I spent $365-$400 on bread, bologna…it’s not really healthy, but that’s what we could afford…bologna, eggs, milk, salad potatoes prepared, so we have this to feed them, hot dogs. It’s not really healthy, but it’s better than being hungry,” says Terrell.

Although they are not a shelter, they provide daily meals and a warm place to stay during the day.

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“So as a warming center for the community, we have people who come when it’s cold outside. People can’t afford to pay their heating bills…for the elderly, especially, it’s horrible,” Terrell says.

And providing people with enough cold weather gear is an important task.

“People die of cold before they die of heat, and unfortunately, at this moment, this cold snap hit us hard. Because we weren’t ready for that. We weren’t ready at all,” explains Terrell.

That’s why donations like the one made by children to Central Park Baptist Church are so appreciated.

“It doesn’t matter what skin color you have or your financial situation. The cold is cold, so we challenged them to find ways to deal with it. And I’m very proud of them. They did well got by with a few boxes of stuff,” says John Peterson, a member of Central Park Baptist Church.

HAD needs coats, men’s pants size 28-34, white socks, gloves, hand warmers, closed toe men’s shoes size 9-13, tents, blankets, sleeping bags sleeping and food.

“When these people put on their new hats, socks and gloves, I just want them to know that someone loves them,” says John Peterson.

If you’ve felt inspired to donate items or money to help HAD help others this winter, they are accepting donations in person and through the links on their The Facebook page.

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