Adverse winter weather has caused a decline in clothing donations at Allied Churches, the largest homeless shelter, food pantry and food kitchen in Alamance County. At the same time, recent low temperatures have caused an increase in clothing demands.
“The supply is down because people can’t get here,” said Kim Crawford, director of Allied Churches. “We need blankets. We need jackets. We need shoes.”
This winter, several storms left Alamance County with slippery roads. On Thursday, March 6, an ice storm caused power outages and fallen tree branches, leaving some roads impassable. Many people chose to stay indoors to avoid the conditions.
“Generally, the community is really good about helping out the shelter,” Crawford said. “I think the issue is that people can’t get here.”
According to the Allied Churches website, the recent ice storm caused the organization to run on emergency generator power until Sunday March 9. During this period, the shelter and soup kitchen were still operating.
Allied Churches is located in Burlington. Through its partnership with Elon University’s Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, about 50-60 students have volunteered there this semester.
Sophomore Aubrey Crawley is the LINCS coordinator for Allied Churches, which means that she is the student liaison between the organization and the Kernodle Center. Through her volunteer work at the food pantry of Allied Churches, she has noticed that some visitors don’t have adequate clothing in the winter.
“A lot of people don’t have shoes that hold up in this weather,” Crawley said. “A lot of people wear flip-flops and have holes in their clothes.”
Crawley said she worries about people’s tattered clothing when they leave the shelter and go into the cold.
“They’re out in the elements, and I know it can be hard,” she said.
During this clothing shortage, Crawford said workers have used donation money to find specific clothing items to fill visitors’ demands.
With warmer weather in the forecast, Crawford said she doesn’t think the shelter will need winter clothing donations for much longer. But she said both food and clothing donations are welcome throughout the year.
“People give a lot around the holidays,” she said. “It’s typical for non-profits to get less support other times of the year.”
Crawley encouraged Elon community members to leave donations for Allied Churches in the Kernodle Center, located in upstairs Moseley. She said educating Elon students about Alamance County residents who are in need might give them a better understanding of what Allied Churches does for the community.
“I think the best thing would be raising awareness on campus about the homeless population in Burlington and the food scarcity in Burlington,” she said.