Cold night prompts shelter to open in Citrus County

Citrus County

LECANTO, Fla. (WFLA) – The only cold weather shelter in Citrus County opened and accepted overnight guests on Monday night.

For the first time this season, the Salvation Army prepared to house and feed people escaping the cold temperatures.

It’s the first dose of cold temperatures for the winter season. The magic number for the shelter to open, is below 40 degrees.

The Salvation Army cold-weather shelter in Lecanto is ready to house the homeless or those without heat.

“It’s a wonderful thing to be able to provide a warm place and a warm meal for someone who is really in need,” said Major Ken Fagan.

At a shopping plaza in Crystal River, customers are bundling up to stay warm, in a place known for heat. “I’m not real thrilled with it.  I think I like the heat better,” said Anita Trout.

There are the occasional die-hards, insisting on shorts in this winter chill.

“Hey, it’s Florida. You’ve got long pants on. That’s for winter,” said Don Shook.

“I’d rather be in shorts in 80 degrees and not have to wear shoes and socks,” said Barbara Shook.

Northerners meanwhile scoff at the low of 38 degrees.  “This isn’t bad.  It’s not bad. You can’t complain,” said Jackie Mccain.

But for those who don’t have a warm place, the Salvation Army is there to lend a hand.

“We’re it.  For the cold weather shelter.  There are other shelters, but cold weather?  Just opening the doors saying come in and get warm, nah, there’s no one else in the county doing that right now,” Major Fagan said.

The key to staying warm in this weather: layers…plenty of layers.

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