DENVER — The Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Shelter reached capacity for overnight guests Saturday evening, as bitterly cold temperatures settled into the metro.
“What we are experiencing now is more challenging than we've ever experienced in any winter,” said Stephen Hinkel, spokesperson for Denver Rescue Mission.
Saturday afternoon, people packed the Lawrence Street Community Center to enjoy a warm meal and escape the cold. Hinkel said volunteers serve up to 1,300 meals per day.
Come Saturday night, all 200 beds at the shelter next door were full.
When the Lawrence Street location fills up, Hinkel said people needing warmth are bused to the Mission’s location on Holly Street. That spot, according to Hinkel, was also nearing capacity Saturday night.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing our services being stretched more than they ever have been before,” said Hinkel.
With the dangerously cold temperatures, the City and County of Denver expanded its activation of cold weather shelters to 24 hours per day, keeping some spots open through Tuesday morning. A spokesperson for the City’s Department of Housing Stability said Saturday afternoon while space was tight, room remains available across Denver’s network of shelters.
Hinkel said partnerships are vital when the cold can mean life or death.
“We believe we live in a community that doesn't want people to freeze to death, we don't want to send people to the hospital because they're experiencing frostbite…I think there's certainly some conversations that probably will be happening potentially in the coming weeks to make sure that we have enough space available across the City,” said Hinkel.
The Denver Rescue Mission is always looking for winter clothes donations. You can drop off coats, hats, socks and boots to any of their locations.