Va. Beach Winter Shelter program in need of blankets

WAVY/Laura Caso

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Virginia Beach says blankets are needed for its Winter Shelter program.

The program provides a meal and a warm place to sleep for the homeless. Shelters are open overnight, and are open on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Homeless adults who need a shelter should check in at the Day Support Services Center located at 825 18th Street between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. each night.

Anyone looking to donate new or gently used blankets can take them to the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC) at 1053 Virginia Beach Boulevard. The center will also be accepting monetary donations.

James Simmers spent the last six months living in a tent in Virginia Beach. He says blankets are a matter of life and death, at times.

“You need several blankets [when] you sleep outside. You want as much as you on the ground too, the ground sucks all of the heat from your body out. You can’t sleep on the ground. You need one for the ground and one for you,” said Simmers.

Simmers is now staying at the JCOC with the help of Executive Director, Todd Walker.

“[A blanket] may be the thing that can maintain them the one night until they can get to the services they need,” said Walker. “When we reach capacity we can give out blankets to those who stay at church that we’ve partnered with. A blanket is an essential need at this time of the year.”

Both Walker and Simmers agree that the gift of warmth could be one of the most important gifts you give this year.