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December Snow Poses Challenge For Alexandria Shelter

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Fran Becker, executive director of Carpenter's Homeless Shelter.
Jonathan Wilson
Fran Becker, executive director of Carpenter's Homeless Shelter.

By Jonathan Wilson

Dealing with a winter storm is particularly difficult for those serving the community's neediest populations. Some non-profit agencies, including local food banks, canceled weekend hours to keep volunteers off potentially dangerous roads.

At Carpenter's Homeless Shelter, executive director Fran Becker spent her Friday rushing to stock up on the necessities before the storm hit. "Its been a long time since we had a record breaking snowstorm, much less one in December," says Becker.

Becker says local churches often provide extra shelter in Alexandria, but they often aren't ready to do so until January. She says she expects about 50 or 60 people per day at the shelter this weekend. It normally holds closer to 30.

Larry Roberts works at the shelter, and says some of the regulars will brave the elements for a chance to get paid. "There'll be some guys going out tomorrow, because this is always an opportunity to go out and shovel snow or do some things, for those having problems getting work," says Roberts.

Becker lined up four volunteers to help out with those who do stay inside Saturday. On a normal weekend day, one staffer is usually enough.

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