Wilmington Shelter Reaches Out During Winter Weather

WILMINGTON, N.C. -- The Hope Center in Wilmington is providing a place for people who need it the most during the recent cold and windy days. 

"It's a place for individuals who are experiencing poverty to be able to come and get out of the weather," said Randy Evans, the director of the Hope Center.

The center is running out of a bike shop that Evans and his partner, Dusty Casteen, are using temporarily. With temperatures continuing to drop, however, the location is becoming a popular one.

''We've had 35 spend the night, but we've probably had 60 or 70 come and go, to eat, just to get around a heater," Evans said. 

And because the numbers of people seeking help are increasing, Evans and his team are in need of more donations. 

"We do everything," Evans said. "We thrive on community. This effort so far, has been completely community-based. We want people to eat, have as much as they want." 

The shelter has even helped one volunteer get off the streets and into his own home. 

''It not only gave me great friends, but it helped me out a great deal," said Ryan Engel, a bike taxi worker who has also become a volunteer for the center that once helped him get out of the cold.

Evans envisions a permanent place to house and get people back on their feet.

"We're shooting high, but we believe in this," he said. "In three-to-five years there being no unsheltered individuals on the streets in Wilmington, North Carolina." 

The Hope Center accepts drop off donations such as food, clothing and blankets. They are located at 409 South Fifth Avenue at the back of the building. 

To find a homeless shelter in your area where you can donate items, click here.

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