Not long after we arrived our first guest walked in through the doors. He'd been out all night, walking around to stay warm. He'd lost his mitts and his beard was covered with frost. He was utterly exhausted.
He made a beeline for the coffee station and helped himself to a steaming mug of black coffee which he used to warm his hands more so than to drink. He sat down on one of our chairs and we asked him if he wanted some breakfast. He was so tired he said he couldn't even think about eating. He just wanted to go straight to sleep. I don't think he'd even taken two sips of his coffee before he fell asleep on one of the couches in our back room. It was 3:30 when he finally woke up.
A few weeks ago, just after New Years we had a wicked cold snap. One night it dropped to -49. When I arrived at the the drop in center I swung the door open and found a man on his knees in the entrance cradling his hands. He said he was alright and would be up in a minute. I was working at my desk in my office before he finally made it up the stairs but I noticed him sit on the couch near our office doors and saw a volunteer bring him a cup of coffee. A few minutes later I heard the sound of water pouring but it didn't really register until I saw a couple of volunteers quietly bustling around him. What I'd heard was his coffee slowly spilling on the floor as the cup tipped in his hand while he fell asleep. The volunteers quietly shifted him into Myra's office where he slept on the couch for the next several hours and mopped up the spill. When he woke up he set up camp in the corner of Myra's office and would pop out occasionally for food or to change his clothes.
90% of the people we help have homes so the few that do come in half frozen and frostbitten really stand out. It's heartbreaking to see people in situations like that, but we are grateful to be able to offer them a space where they can warm up, have some hot food and coffee and get some much needed help.