‘SWAP’ helping Midstate families stay safe from freezing temperatures

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — In addition to the snow, this weekend is going to be very cold and very dangerous for the homeless.

Cumberland County is getting ready to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

Several blankets, sleeping bags, and beds are laid out in several rows throughout the many rooms at Saint Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church to provide not just warmth, but also overnight shelter away from the freezing temperatures.

“We tried to provide support throughout the entirety of the county, our county is pretty vast it can be pretty difficult to go different places,” Beth Kempf said.

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Beth Kempf, Executive Director at the Community Cares homeless shelter says there are several warming centers across Cumberland County.

Locations include Shippensburg, Carlisle, and Mechanicsburg.

“A lot of times people living in what is considered unsheltered homelessness is seen as an unseen population that people are unaware the sheer number that might be living in their car, living in a tent,” Kempf said.

Kempf says if not careful, the frigid weather could take a toll on a person’s health.

“The temperatures can really creep up on you and many people who have lived a significant amount of time in the elements become sicker and sicker when it’s cold you can very easily find yourself getting frostbite very easily find your self-succumbing to the elements,” Kempf said.

Volunteers say those who need help should use these services to stay safe.

“So it’s very important to us that if you need a warm place to be it’s not pretty it’s not great in that way, but it is definitely functional and it’s going to keep you warm through the night and give you a chance to do another tomorrow,” Kempf said.

The warming centers and the shelter will be open till April from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and the doors for the church open at 8 p.m. located at 201 W. Louther St. Carlisle, PA 17013.

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