Shelters prepare for frigid temps, seek more volunteers
Some local shelters are staying open all day and night to help those in need stay warm.
The Seamen's Church Institute in Newport is still looking for volunteers to keep the shelter open through the next several days.
"We are, to our knowledge, the only overnight warming center that opens spontaneously in the state of Rhode Island," said Leslie Streuli with the Seamen’s Church Institute.
The center usually doesn’t open as a shelter, but as temps drop, organizers said the need is crucial. Volunteers have cots and blankets ready to go and are even offering a warm meal and toiletries. Seamen's overnight warming center hours are Thursday through January 12 from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m.
"When you know there’s something tangible you can do like provide an overnight shelter, it’s such a great feeling," Streuli said.
Newport isn’t the only place where people in need can come to sleep in a warm bed across Rhode Island.
At the Emmanuel House in Providence, dozens of men got a warm bed and a hot meal.
"Because of the extreme temperatures, we will not turn anybody away tonight or for the coming days," Emmanuel House Director Dotty Perreault told NBC 10 News.
About 60 men are staying there, with more expected to stop by in the coming days.
Some, the director said, who may be experiencing homelessness for the first time.
"We lost clients out there in the cold last winter," Perrault said.
Now, many are just thankful for the warmth of a stranger.
Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority is also extending hours of operation at Kennedy Plaza.
Now through Friday, the building will be open until 10 p.m. so passengers can stay warm while they wait for their buses.