Salvation Army warms homeless during cold snap


DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — When it comes to Cole Childress, “colorful” might be an understatement.

His smile is infectious. His laughs are sincere. But hard times put Childress out on the streets.

“It could be you or your family out there with nowhere to go,” he said. “Whenever, I found out about this place, I was like ‘God blessed me.’”

“Everybody has a story,” said John Buckles, the shelter operations manager for the Salvation Army of Decatur. “If somebody is encountering homelessness, this is the first step.”

With wind chills plummeting below zero, the Salvation Army’s Cold Cots program is needed more than ever. The program gives homeless men the ability to get a warm bed and a hot meal — safe from the frigid temperatures outside.

“It’s not a house and we do our best to try to make it, for as little time as they’re here, a home,” Buckles said.

And that home is helping Childress get back on his feet so he can chase his dreams of being a firefighter and eventually get back to his two kids.

“I miss my kids,” Childress said. “I wish I could be there, but I can’t. But dad is coming home soon!”

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