For five years, the charitable organization Giving Back to Humanity (GBTH) has been handing out meals every Sunday near the corner of Broad Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. But on the first Sunday of 2014 they were also concerned about the temperature.
Predictions of single digit temperatures during the overnight hours prompted them to hand out as many blankets as they could get their hands on.
Just a few pieces of cardboard and a handful of blankets are what's protecting the homeless from the bitter temperatures Atlanta is about to experience.
According to Abdujami Allen, a single blanket may mean the difference between life and death over the next week. "You get wet; you aint got no other clothes to change into, or you aint got no blankets to change into; pneumonia sets in."
For Beverly King that is the risk she is faced with. King has been homeless since 2012. She, and her coworkers lost their jobs the previous year when the company she worked for closed up shop and moved out of town. She says she got several certifications at Clark University and was able to get a temporary job near Fort Benning with an environmental company.
That opportunity was short lived, as she found herself without a job after just one month. Able to pay her bills through the end of the year, King lost her place to live in January 2012. Six months later she lost her car as well.
Since then King has been living on the streets or in a shelter, and it is days like those we are about to have that she is grateful for the help she gets from people like the volunteers at GBTH.
"It's really indescribable because there is not a lot of people out there are giving help like this," said King.
King is just one of thousands of homeless in the Atlanta area, and as the temperature continues to fall some of them will be able to stay warm in shelters; but more than a few will curl up in as many blankets as they can find, perhaps in or near a cardboard box to break the wind.
It is a problem GBTH is trying to solve. "We just need to try to get some more blankets," said Allen.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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