CAPS needs help

Published 10:27 pm Thursday, December 15, 2016

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Ignore the blip that’s coming this weekend — or maybe look forward to it as a brief and wonderful respite. Either way, today will continue to be bitterly cold, and winter looks ready to return next week after the weekend break.

As cold as you were walking to your car this morning — or maybe to the corner store to pick up this newspaper — remember that there are folks in Suffolk right now who are desperate to find even a sliver of warmth this morning.

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Just in time for the polar vortex, the Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk has opened its Night Stay Program, which offers homeless people in the city a warm place to sleep, a hot shower and a good meal during the coldest months of the year.

Cheryl Griffin, who coordinates the program for CAPS — an organization of churches around Suffolk — is worried that the need this year will be especially high. Last year, she said this week, the program averaged about 10 to 15 people per night, with a high of 25 or so.

Even 10 or 15 people suffering through the kind of cold we experienced last night and expect to see again tonight is far too many. That’s why CAPS is such a wonderful program and such a great testament to the humanity of folks in Suffolk.

Intake occurs nightly from 6 to 6:30 p.m. at the bus station across from the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, 326 N. Main St. Transportation is then provided to the host church. Homeless with cars must meet at the intake location and can then follow the bus. Alcohol, drugs and weapons are not permitted. Guests must have identification, which will be checked against the sex offender registry.

The CAPS organization still has need of volunteers, and there’s a special need the week of Christmas — no church has yet offered to make space available to host the homeless that week.

You can help. For more information on the program, call 286-9126 or visit