Weather can be deadly to those in need

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel         

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — It is cold, again, today, folks. Tomorrow’s temperatures will plunge to levels that will prompt double-takes at the thermometer. All kinds of precautions are in order – bundle up to go outdoors, take good care of your cars, check in on older neighbors and relatives, bring outdoor pets inside, keep an eye on water pipes … the list goes on.

But think also of the at-least 71 homeless individuals in Wood County, counted in a recent registry week. Of the people who were counted (organizers of the event suspect many more were left unaccounted for), 19 were “unsheltered” at the time. One of those people was a child.

Imagine confronting these bitterly cold temperatures without the comfort of knowing there is a roof over your head and, likely, warm clothing and a heat source available. Add to that the thought that these folks might not know how or when they will get their next meal.

Area shelters and soup kitchens are stretched to the breaking point during weather like this. Any help would be appreciated, though it is always wisest to check on the needs of individual agencies, first. Perhaps that winter coat you discovered could no longer be buttoned after a holiday season of indulgence should be handed over to the Salvation Army. Maybe a little of that tax refund could be spent on a trip to the grocery store for nonperishable items to donate.

Or, maybe, as other events are canceled because of the terrible weather conditions, there will be a little spare time to donate to serving some of the agencies that probably need more than a few helping hands right now.

For those cuddled up under a blanket, with a cup of hot cocoa and steadily humming furnace, these days might be little more than a nuisance. But remember, for some, they are deadly.

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