Kent County Code Purple in Effect Nearly Every Day of 2015 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Kent County Code Purple in Effect Nearly Every Day of 2015


DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Nearly every day of 2015 - and for four straight weeks now - Code Purple has been in effect this winter in Kent County. It was also in effect multiple times late last year.

That is a big change from last winter, which was Code Purple's first in Kent County, when it was in effect more sporadically. And it is putting some strain on those who help keep people warm.

Code Purple provides emergency shelter for homeless people on nights of extreme cold.

Lee McCallum runs Code Purple for Presbyterian Church of Dover, which is a sanctuary for men.

"We've seen a consistent number of men over the past month. Anywhere from 15 to 17 each night," he said.

McCallum has about 30 volunteers. Six of them help each night.

"It is a small army," he said. "Even with 30 volunteers, you're looking at people who are working at least once, often twice or three times each week."

The church is one of ten sanctuaries in places including Dover, Wyoming, Milford and soon Smyrna. Last winter, Code Purple started with three spots in Dover.

More locations means Kent County Code Purple is providing more services this winter. A lot of cold weather has played in, too.

"It's been very daunting for us to have this much cold weather this soon. In fact, in November as quick as it came on and before Christmas," said Allan Angel, a Kent County commissioner.

Last winter, Code Purple went into effect at 25 degrees. This winter, it has changed to 32 degrees.

"We felt that we needed to do that, because, I mean, 25 degrees is pretty cold," said Becky Martin, chair of Kent County Code Purple. "32 degrees is pretty cold. Would you like to be outside when it's 32 degrees?"

Everyone involved with Code Purple agrees that being open so much has been taxing.

"There is no question it's tiring. But it's also extraordinarily rewarding," said McCallum.

McCallum said the church is prepared to be doing this through mid-March and beyond, if necessary. Martin said the whole system will make it through to the end of this winter's cold temperatures.

Code Purple rotates through the participating churches. So, any individual church isn't open every single day.

Organizers say the available beds are full basically every night. Often there is even overflow.

Info on Kent County Code Purple through Feb. 7:

The Milford Community Center and Presbyterian Church of Dover are open all week starting at 5 p.m. Calvary Baptist Church in Dover is open Monday night and Tuesday night after 5 p.m. Wesley United Methodist Church will be open Wednesday night through Friday after 5 p.m. Wyoming United Methodist Church will be open after 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and Shepherd's Place will be open Saturday night only.

All of these places are open to women and children only with the exception of Presbyterian Church of Dover and Wyoming UMC. Those are only open to men.

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