McAllen shelter ready for Friday night freeze

Tony Peña

The low temperatures on Thursday night forced nearly 30 Hidalgo County residents to seek shelter at the Salvation Army Headquarters in McAllen.

Many more are expected Friday night when temperatures are expected to dip into the 20s.

Jose Placencia was one of the people who took advantage of the shelter. He said he would return Friday night.

"Why suffer the cold when you can come here and get bedding just for the night or two nights, whatever," he said.

The numbers at the shelter were less than expected.

But officials are still preparing for a possible overflow with the coldest temperatures yet to come.

"As soon as we're reaching capacity we'll give them a call and they said they will prepare to open up another shelter," Shelter Manager Frank Llanez said.

He said they are doing what they can to keep people warm during Friday night's freezing temperatures.

"With a valid ID, you get three nights free and then $5 a day for accountability purposes, right now that's off," he added.

Once at the shelter, guests receive three meals, a hygiene kit, blankets and a bunk bed.

Hidalgo County Emergency Management Coordinator Tony Pea encouraged people and families to prepare for an even deeper plunge in the thermometer.

Pea said it TMs always better to play it safe.

"If there's a family out there that don TMt have heating at their home, we prefer that you go to a local shelter, Pea said. Spend the night there, its nice and warm."

But at this time, Llanez said the need is not only for shelter but also for items to hand out.

"We do need coats, the shelter manager said. I saw a large amount of coats that we had, then they're not here anymore so if anyone does have coats we will appreciate it.

The shelter is also in need of bedding items and blankets.

Anyone interested in donating can drop off the items at the Salvation Army Headquarters on 23th Street and Pecan in McAllen.