Code Purple Emergency Shelter Continues to Serve People in Need

A person sitting on the sidewalk in the cold.

Western Carolina Rescue Ministries (WCRM) is welcoming those who seek overnight emergency shelter at the First Congregational Church, located at 20 Oak Street.

The event check-in services are from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily and occurs anytime the forecasted temperature falls below freezing (32°).

The initiative is known around the community as Code Purple, an emergency service that is put into effect every year to prevent individuals from spending the night in extreme cold and potentially freezing to death. All individuals will receive a hot meal, warm blanket, and a place to sleep for the night.

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In response to Covid-19, Western Carolina Rescue Ministries has partnered with First Congregational Church to create a safe alternative for sleeping on the street. Following COVID guidelines is of utmost importance to everyone helping with this initiative. To help serve those in need safely, all individuals are required to have their temperature checked, as well as required to wear a mask when interacting with public spaces.

In order to regulate the safety of all, an officer from the Sheriff’s office is present to monitor the facility. In addition, all blankets are laundered each day by Swannanoa Cleaners.

With limited availability due to the CDC’s Covid-19 regulations, there are only 50 available spots, 30 for men and 20 for women and children. The men and women are separated and sleep in different rooms to protect all individuals.

“This is how we are helping people.” said Micheal Woods, the Executive Director of WCRM, as he takes pride in this service. “We are grateful knowing that we are keeping people safe, fed, and alive.”

If you have questions, wish to donate, or would like to volunteer at WCRM, you can obtain more information by calling Western Carolina Rescue Ministries at 828-254-1529 or visiting their website at www.westerncarolinarescue.org.