Upcoming cold blasts gets Berks shelters on the ready

READING, Pa. - With Friday's blast of cold air, homeless shelters in Berks County said they expect to be busy.

The City Light Ministries shelter on North Ninth Street in Reading is busiest during the colder months.

James "Sunny" Surita, the shelter's director, said preparations for the cold days begin in the summer, by stocking up and sorting out cold-weather gear.

"We will provide gloves, coats for men and women, scarves, dry socks, any long pants that we happen to have for both men and women," Surita told 69 News.

Surita said the shelter typically closes at 10 a.m. and reopens in the evening, but during the colder days, it will stay open all day.

During that time, both men and women are welcome to stop by, warm up, and grab a snack, but earlier this year, the center turned into a shelter for women-only at night.

It refers men to the Hope Rescue Mission on North Sixth Street and families to the Opportunity House on North Second Street.

Surita said he expects the shelter to be at or near capacity of 40 over the coming days.

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