Below freezing temps kick Operation Deep Freeze into high gear
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Salvation Army has enacted Operation Deep Freeze because of the winter weather that has swept over Southern Arizona.
"I wouldn't last that long outside," said Mark McCall.
McCall is one of many people turning to the Salvation Army on the coldest night yet this winter season.
"You can freeze to death in that type of weather and we want to keep people from having that problem," said Major Duke Markham, a spokesman for the Salvation Army.
Operation Deep Freeze is a chance to come on in and break bread with others who understand the toils others are going through.
"They are good people who have just come upon some hard times," said McCall.
It's a chance to enjoy a home-cooked meal in a safe place. It's a bed to sleep in and a blanket to keep warm. It's a room where for a few hours, guests don't have to worry about what's next.
"It's a huge difference in their lives," said Markham.
More and more people continue to show up for help each year. And the cost of the popular winter program shoots up with it.
"We then have to start looking more at the community and saying you got to help us because we're not going to cut this program," Markham said. "We're not going to shut the doors and say sorry we're out of money, so you have to sleep outside."
It's welcome news for people like McCall who are just trying to survive the night and get to tomorrow where the doubt and uncertainty start all over again.
"Thank God for places like this or there'd be more people out on the street," McCall said. "And for those still out on the street, I say good luck cause it's getting colder."
The Salvation Army always takes monetary donations, but they're also looking for a new larger location to host Operation Deep Freeze, since the number of those needing shelter continues to grow. If you can help contact the Salvation Army directly at 520-622-5411. You can also donate blankets, coats, gloves and scarves at the Hospitality House or at any of the five Naughton's Plumbing, Heating and Cooling retail locations.