LYNCHBURG, Va. – Tianie Stewart is 19 years old and originally from New Jersey. She says she escaped an abusive situation and found herself in the Hill City.
"I kind of left home at 18 because I was tired of everything I was going through. And fell asleep on the train and winded up here," Stewart said.
She is just one of the many people Lynchburg Salvation Army staff has seen come through their doors just to dodge the bitterly cold wind.
"Its freezing. The winds are incredibly cold and strong. So I really don't want to be out there stuck in the cold. I prefer, you know, at least somewhere warm, that I know I can get a meal or two," Stewart said.
Because of the cold temperatures, the Lynchburg Salvation Army opened its cold weather shelter and that means people who are also looking for a warm lunch can stop by for food.
"We normally don't offer lunch. Just breakfast and dinner. So it's a little tricky with coming up with the supplies we need, but we're making do," Carol Kirby, food service manager, said.
Shelter staff said they've seen their numbers increase the past few weeks. In the dining area alone, they say there have 25 to 40 people sleeping on cots just to get a break from Mother Nature's brutally cold blast."
"If anyone can donate, that would be wonderful. There's a lot of people here who need, you know? I'm not the only one here," Stewart said.
Shelter staff tell 10 News that because they are serving food three times a day now, they are in need of more food donations; especially cereal for breakfast.
To help, contact their office at 434 845-5939.