JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Salvation Army shelters across the Tri-Cities are flying a white flag to invite in those facing brutal temperatures this week.
A white flag is not a sign of surrender for the Johnson City Corps of the Salvation Army. Instead, it’s an indicator of emergency capacity at their shelter locations.
“When the weather’s below 35 degrees, we open up our dining room area,” said Captain Benny Carringer of the Johnson City Corps. “And we can house about 18 to 20 additional individuals other than the ones who are currently staying in our shelter.”
That shelter can be a lifesaver for those experiencing homelessness as temperatures plunge well below freezing in the next few days.
“With the weather as cold as it’s going to be, you have to worry about hypothermia,” Carringer said. “You also have to worry about people possibly freezing to death, and so we just want to do our part at helping our community while the weather is bad as well.”
Check-in for white flag days starts early, and Carringer said capacity tends to fill up quickly. Guests need to bring a photo ID and submit to a weapons check, but past that there are no requirements.
“We’re just glad to be able to provide that service for those who are experiencing homelessness in our community,” Carringer said.
Overnight stays are free for Salvation Army guests, funded in large part by the organization’s red kettle effort over the holidays. Salvation Army bell-ringers will be in place across the region until Christmas Eve, or you can donate online.