Protecting our community's most vulnerable against the frigid cold

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) ----- With the unseasonably frigid weather, some of our community's most vulnerable struggle to find relief from the cold.

For those behind key services, preparing to protect and serve their hundreds of patrons against the bitter cold this early can be difficult, but rewarding.

"When we get into the single digits, like it is predicted, we really fear for those who are out in the elements," said Kay Larrick.

With the bitterly cold temperatures, neighborhood resources like the Rockford Rescue Mission and Carpenter's Place work hard for those who need it most.

"They feed over 500 people; they make over 500 meals a day. Could you imagine making that much food?" said Eddie Longs.

Eddie Longs is a resident of the Mission. He says the generosity of others means a lot to him, because he knows what could be.

"I pray for those people that's out there that don't have a bed, because I know a guy who slept under a bridge for a few weeks, he's in the program now," said Longs.

Carpenter's Place Executive Director Kay Larrick says without proper clothing, like winter boots and hand warmers, the frigid weather can be deadly.

"So, people who are outside on a regular basis, you know, people who are homeless, they don't have a place to go. Really, this kind of weather can be life-threatening," said Larrick.

Both facilities are in need of donations, with the mission seeing a 24 percent jump in overnight services and for those who might feel like they don't have a place to go, both Longs and Larrick say help is just a call away.

"Don't be afraid. If you need help, just ask for it," said Longs.

For those interested, you can drop off new or gently used coats for men, women and children, as well as toiletries and monetary donations to both the Rockford Rescue Mission and Carpenter's Place during their daily service hours.