ST. LOUIS ( -- People across the metro are looking for warmth with the freezing temperatures. Tim Huffman with the St. Patricks’ Center says they are asking for volunteers to help assist in keeping the homeless population sheltered this weekend as below freezing temps move in.

“When it’s this cold you can die pretty quick,” Huffman said, adding area homeless shelters are currently full. Part of the problem is that fewer shelters are available as some sites aren’t open because of pandemic concerns.

“As of last night, we ran out of beds and we think that we’re between 30 to 50 short, and so we do need donations to continue to spread operations,” Huffman said. The center set up several temporary warming tents but it’s not affective in below freezing temperatures.

In the restaurant industry, those who’ve been relying on outdoor dining said keeping customs warm hasn’t been inexpensive. “We spend about $500 every two days on propane, so it is expensive,” Aaron Teitelbum said. He's the owner of Herbie’s in Clayton.

Teitelbum said they’re only using one tent to serve diners because of the propane cost it takes to keep one tent warm. “We have seven heaters in our main tent, we just crank up the number of heaters we have,” he said.

Since the pandemic, he said they’ve pivoted daily on ways to keeping customers comfortable, especially when leading into busy weekends like Valentine’s Day.

“It’s not even about the coast anymore it’s about how do we keep people comfortable, how do we keep people safe and not lose our shirts,” he said.

Local homeless groups say they are accepting donations to place people in hotels this weekend.

Click here to donate and click here to volunteer.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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