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Bethlehem shelter prepares for the cold

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 06 2014 09:04:19 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 06:51:45 AM CST

As arctic-like temperatures plague the Lehigh Valley, shelters across the region are hoping those in need will take advantage of their services and take a break from the cold.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

As arctic-like temperatures plague the Lehigh Valley, shelters across the region are hoping those in need will take advantage of their services and take a break from the cold.

69 News spoke with one homeless man in Bethlehem who said he planned on living in a tent this winter until temperatures became unbearable.

"I had my tent. And I reinforced it with tarps right over the tent…So I thought, "I can endure this winter. I got a good sleeping bag. I'm just going to do this winter," he said.

Four weeks ago, the man called 911 for help and welcomed the generosity of the volunteers at the Church of the Manger in Bethlehem.

"The last night I was in the tent, the cold got so freakishly cold this winter. I said, 'oh no, I'm not going to make it through this winter like this," he said.

Living on a fixed income, the man said he can't afford rent. He's able to purchase food and find clothing, but he's in desperate need of shelter.

"Warmth. I am here for shelter," he said.

The Church of the Manger in Bethlehem welcomed just more than 30 men on Monday night, including a few unfamiliar faces.

Volunteers hope many more will seek help and catch a break from the cold this week, as temperatures drop to dangerous lows.

"We worry about these guys and women, too. We don't want to lose them… Please come to us, spend a night, spend a week. Anyone is welcome," said Betsy Easen, shelter coordinator at the Church of the Manger.

"If we don't have enough cots, we throw some quilts on the floor, and they are as comfortable as they can be. They are safe here," said Sharon Harfman, Pastor at Church of the Manger.

The shelter also provides a hot meal.

For shelter schedules and locations in Bethlehem click here: http://bethlehememergencysheltering.org/