Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry’s (ABCCM) annual Safe & Warm drive begins on Friday, January 27 at Carolina Furniture Concepts, 100 Airport Road in Arden. On that day, Carolina Furniture Concepts will match all community donations up to $30,000.
ABCCM invites you to join CFC, College Hunks, First Citizen’s Bank, WLOS and Champion Credit Union in providing warmth to struggling families, elderly and Veterans in our community by helping raise $30,000 for Carolina Furniture to match on January 27th.
Visit abccm.org/S&W to donate, and for blanket/coat drop-off locations. Or come out, bring a blanket or coat and join ABCCM and WLOS live at Carolina Furniture Concepts.
The Safe & Warm Campaign runs through February and raises funds to prevent utility cut-offs and provide heating assistance, blankets and coats to the elderly and families in the area struggling to keep warm. With the rising cost of everything, the frail elderly and families (especially those with young children) are having choose between heat, groceries and medicine. ABCCM is asking for your help to assist in avoiding this terrible choice. Donate a blanket, coat, or help pay a heating bill.
Every winter with 29,797 (11.5%) of the Buncombe County population living below the poverty level, there is a need to help families and individuals with heating assistance. This year, due to inflation, the increased cost of heating one’s home, high costs of medicine with the impact of flu, colds and Covid-19 that reduce take home pay, the need for heating assistance is already increasing and more cold weather is on the way. During these winter months, ABCCM receives an average of 20 calls a day, including from the frail elderly and families with children for heating assistance, and has already prevented the cut-off of heat and lights and kept 130 households safe and warm.
The Safe & Warm sponsors are:
- Carolina Furniture Concepts
- College Hunks Moving Junk
- First Citizens Bank
- Champion Credit Union
With the help of these sponsors, the campaign collects coats and blankets as well as funds through the ABCCM website, abccm.org/S&W, to provide heating assistance for families and the homeless in Buncombe County. ABCCM will be collecting donations and coats through February. The Safe & Warm annual collection drive will begin at Carolina Furniture Concepts, 100 Airport Road, all day Friday, January 27th.
ABCCM has already provided 1,597 overnight stays thus far this winter season. With a total of 130 beds at three facilities designated as Safe Havens, the City of Asheville Code Purple Committee has designated ABCCM as the lead agency for the 2022-23 winter season. ABCCM is the only agency providing Code Purple beds while collaborating with other shelters to ensure the unhoused are safe and warm. Code Purple nights occur when temperatures reach 32 degrees or lower, when people are at risk of freezing to death. The threat is real!
“Today’s unhoused need safe facilities, competent staff and trained volunteers to help meet the complex needs of these neighbors,” says ABCCM Executive Director Rev. Scott Rogers. “ABCCM accepts everyone. We do not require ID or background checks. We accept different genders without putting labels and initials on people groups. Our three safe havens preserve the dignity of each individual with kindness. We serve those who may be in active addiction and need to stabilize or socially detox. Our focus is on safety for everyone. We do not allow active drug use on the property or in facilities. We require people to be in control of their behavior, not making threats or being a threat to themselves. We have a safe place for those with pets to house them offsite at a certified pet shelter or veterinary facility. ABCCM is offering these safe havens located on the city bus lines. We are also going out in our Code Purple vans to offer transportation at night, plus food, blankets and hand warmers for those who choose to stay out.”
Here are the shelter locations:
- Veterans Restoration Quarters, ACTS building at 1401 Tunnel Rd – Veteran and civilian men – 50 beds
- Recovery Living/Costello House at 141 Hillside St – civilian men – 30 beds
- Transformation Village at 30 Olin Haven Way – women and children – 50 beds
Volunteers are needed at all three safe havens:
- Cook teams: shifts- 4-7pm;
- Evening activity volunteers: shifts 5-7pm and 7-9pm;
- Life skill teachers: shifts 7-9pm;
- Mentors or Faithful Friends: shifts 5-7pm and 7-9pm
“Code Purple is a life-saving arm of the churches supporting ABCCM,” Rev. Rogers says. “ABCCM works collaboratively with churches that open their space to make sure every homeless person can come in and be safe and warm. Services also include running our vans downtown and inviting the unhoused to a safe haven. Thanks to the hundreds of volunteers and area churches, we will transport men and women or families to ABCCM Safe Haven shelters.”
When temperatures plummet, Code Purple saves lives. “We need everyone’s help to provide coats, hats, gloves, blankets, as well as food for the homeless,” Tim McElyea, ABCCM Director of Homeless Services says. “Our vans visit homeless camps to deliver coats, hats, gloves, blankets, hand warmers, and food, and they pick people up from these camps and take them to safe havens if they are willing. Many homeless people have no way of getting to the shelters. Code Purple vans remove this transportation obstacle.”
Volunteers and supplies are in critical need. “Volunteers are welcome to help ride in the vans and deliver the supplies or serve meals and engage in meaningful activities to serve our guests,” Tim says.