Community helps launch cold weather shelter in Chillicothe

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Throughout the Midwest, we are expected to see record-breaking cold over the next couple of days. In the Pickaway, Ross and Fairfield area alone, we are expecting the wind chill to be as low as 30 below zero – and in some areas across Ohio, people are expecting the wind chill to be 40 below zero.

Multiple weather advisories from various weather apps and websites are warning people to not stay outside for longer periods of time, as frostbite from the wind chill can cause frostbite in as little as thirty minutes.  While we have the option to stay indoors, whether it be at home, work or in our vehicle in between destinations – there are those who do not have that capability. The homeless often brave the rough conditions of winter, with no place to go, to keep warm, and to stay safe.

This encouraged some individuals in Ross County to change that.

Bud Lytle, a police Detective with the Chillicothe Police Department, began working on setting up a weather shelter for the homeless. He was encouraged by a post talking about the harsh weather conditions, and how the homeless would have to sleep in this condition.

In a Facebook post made yesterday evening to thank the community for their help, Bud writes: “After reading this post [about the impending weather], God put on my heart that action was needed, so I followed that post with another imploring our community to step up.”

When God puts something on your heart, you know He will provide you with the means needed to see a mission through. They needed a place to host the cold weather shelter, they needed supplies, food, drinks….and they had a short period of time to make this all happened. With that said, their needs were more than met.

“By that evening Ross County Community Action, Trina Lytle-Payne, donated the use of her facility for a temporary emergency shelter! Outreach for Christ Ministries donated food and drink supplies! Several in the community donated coats, blankets, socks, shoes, mats, hats, etc. to the cause.” Bud’s post read.

More than just volunteering a location and supplies, Bud needed people to volunteer something a little more valuable – their time.

Time is a difficult thing for some to give away, but for the people of the Chillicothe area, they went above and beyond in giving up their time to help those in need. Within hours of putting the word out there about needing volunteers, a minimum of six people to volunteer for the three days and night period, from January 24th – 26th.

That left Bud to figure out how he was going to transport individuals to the cold weather shelter itself. In that same post, he explained how a couple of people helped to make transportation to the shelter possible. The Salvation Army offered the use of their van, however… “Because of processes beyond any of our control, it was going to be difficult to coordinate the use of their van by other drivers.”

So Bud had to come up with a plan B, which lead Bud to reach out to Pastor John Hocker of the Harvest Center Church of God – who was more than welcome in letting Bud use their van.

Finally, after a meeting with Pastor Mark Clendaniel of Jefferson Ave CCCU, plans were made to move the weather shelter to a more permanent location. More donations were made, more volunteers offered to help and even The Salvation Army extended out a helping hand – by offering to open their doors for those staying in the shelter to be able to take a warm shower and to do laundry at their facility.

As of yesterday, the Walmart on River Trace Lane was contacted by Bud, to which they responded in donating 25 air mattresses, “and more, if needed!”

Bud closes out his Facebook post in thanking those in the community who have donated, volunteered and helped with this in any way that they did – a project that not only is impacting so many lives but was put together in just two days of posting the request.

Bud’s response to all of this was incredible, and is directed towards those in the community: “Christ challenged us in scripture to care for those less fortunate, and I would say, ROSS COUNTY HAS ANSWERED THE CALL AND MET THE CHALLENGE!”

The shelter is open to anyone who needs a place to stay during any night that drops below 30 degrees.

Visit Jefferson Ave CCCU for sleeping arrangements:
70 Jefferson Ave
Chillicothe, OH 45601
10 pm – 7:30 am.

Transportation to the shelter is available from the following locations:

Yoctangee Park Armory Parking Lot
Valero, S. Paint Street
Valero Bridge St at 2nd St
Strawser Park (Riverside St at Sycamore St)
Speedway, E Main St

Transportation will arrive between 9 pm and 10 pm on the lot.

PHOTO SOURCE: Walmart Chillicothe – River Trace Lane Facebook Page