Iron County Care And Share Preps Upcoming Cold And Holiday Seasons
“Our service numbers are way up above where they were last year.” That's what James Jetton the Executive Director of the Iron County Care and Share reported to us when he joined is on the morning show. Jetton continued, “I think it's a 33% increase in the number of folks that are coming down to use our drop in services.”
Those services include use of the shelter, hot meals, showers and laundry services. Jetton believes this is the biggest increase he has seen in the need for services at the Care and Share since he started working there in 2019.
Use of the emergency shelter is also on the rise. Jetton said use of the shelter increased “24% higher utilization rate over the previous year. Our pantry is up 33% as well.”
With colder weather arriving, Care and Share recently put out a request to the community for donations of blankets. Jetton said the response of the community was “amazing.” For the time being, the Care and Share actually has more blankets than they can store, but he expects that will be a short term situation as more people will be needing blankets in the colder weather. He believes the over abundance will only last a month or two.
New regulations passed by the Utah Legislature this year are going to impact the Care and Share this season. Called “Code Blue” the regulations will be triggered when temperatures drop below a a set level anywhere within a county.
Once Code Blue is in effect, cities and counties would be prohibited from enforcing camping ordinances for people who are already camping. So, if someone was camping in Main Street Park, once Code Blue went in to effect the camper would have to be allowed to stay.
The exception to that is if there is a public shelter available. If that is the case, those camping could be relocated to those shelters, such as the one at the Care and Share. But since most shelters are almost always at capacity, another provision in the Code Blue legislation allows shelters to exceed capacity levels by up to 35% for the duration of the Code Blue.
The Iron County Care and Share is currently working with the city and the county along with volunteers to establish a camping area behind the shelter location. The National Guard has provided a tent that can be used to set up with cots.
Jetton mentioned that the Cedar City Rotary Club is donating the materials and food to put together 50 holiday food baskets for Thanksgiving. Looking more down the road, he is hoping to find a community group that could provide holiday food baskets for Christmas.
If community members desire to donate food to the Care and Share, Jetton reminds us that food can not just be left at the pantry. Donations must be made during the hours the pantry is operating. Those hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 9AM to 3PM.
You can listen to our show with James Jetton below
LOOK: First Photos Of 'The Walmart Of The Future'
Gallery Credit: Rob Carroll