Even with the spring semester coming to an end, Lubbock’s morning breeze and nightly cool temperatures have remained constant. For Lubbock’s homeless population, this often means long, cold nights.
With the help of organizations and volunteers like those in the Salvation Army, individuals are able to bring warmth and aid to those in need, especially during extremely cold conditions.
“We provide a couple of different services to the lower-income community,” Shannon Sudduth, the community relations and development coordinator at the Lubbock Salvation Army, said.
Sudduth has worked actively toward helping the homeless community, she said. Sudduth graduated LCU with a major in organizational communications and is currently working toward her graduate degree at Tech in mass communications. Salvation Army has an event called Survive the Night.
Survive the Night involves active participation of volunteers helping the homeless community around Lubbock get shelter, food and disaster relief.
“We take our truck around during 30 degrees or below temperatures around 6 p.m. during the months of November to mid-February,” Sudduth said. “We drive around downtown looking for homeless community who aren’t able to get back to our shelter and provide them with blankets, warm clothing like scarves, beanies, gloves, that sort of thing.”
Sudduth said during the winter the Salvation Army asks for donations and blankets and they are later put in the building’s storage unit to be supplied to those in need during the right time. Tech students usually help out in the shelter, she said, helping arrange bags containing blankets and hygiene kits. Sudduth said during January there is a sign-up sheet for volunteers to help on their rounds for Survive the Night.
“The program is designed to try and help people survive the night,” Dave Frericks, the disaster coordinator at the Lubbock Salvation Army, said. “Nights we go out and find them on the street and provide them with socks, caps and a hot meal. And if they want we can bring them to the shelter for the night so they can survive one more day.“
Salvation Army recruited Frericks after his work in the government as an advisory board member in the disaster team during 1994.
“One night in February we went out during 12-degree weather. The wind was blowing and we happened to find a fellow sleeping on a bench. He was wearing a T-shirt and shorts,” Frericks said. “He was shaking so badly he could barely stand up. We got him in down here and there was no question in my mind, I wanted to save his life. He would have died right there.”
According to the Tech website students often volunteer with Salvation Army during Tech Lubbock Community Day and with other organizations like Raiders Helping Others.
Tashika Curlee, a senior English and sociology dual major from Paris, Texas, has volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the South Plains Food Bank and the Salvation Army.
Curlee said that she had previously volunteered with the Salvation Army along with her organization Pegasus.
“From everything that I had heard, the Salvation Army was an organization meant to help those who were struggling within the community,” she said.
Most of the students who volunteer at the Salvation Army are assigned to meal preparation, cleaning or other basic duties, she said. Curlee was able to be a part of the volunteer team through the preparation of meals.
During her time volunteering, Curlee said she felt like she really got to know the staff and the work they put forth, in addition to those individuals in need.
“Most of the people were so nice and had an amazing attitude regardless of their circumstances. One family that is burned into my memory is that of a Hispanic father and his two young daughters,” she said. “The daughters were smiling and playing around with each other. They were not the only family we served that day, there were some others as well.”
Volunteering is an important part of being a member of a community, Curlee said. Community means helping others.
“As a college student, I recognize that I would not be here getting a higher education if not for the generosity of those within our community in giving out scholarships and other forms of financial aid,” Curlee said. “Therefore, I believe volunteering at any level showcases how thankful I am and my desire to give back to a community that has given me so much.”