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Shelter Prepared for Influx during Cold Weather, Thanksgivin

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MCALLEN – With the first cold snap of the season and the Thanksgiving holiday landing on the same day, the Salvation Army is busy with preparations.

Virginia Manzo found herself at the Salvation Army not too long ago; before she was in the shelter she was living in a tent for three months. Today she's extra thankful.

"From there into a tent for three months just surviving day by day until we came here and I am thankful for God that there's a place for us here," she said.

With temperatures dropping into the forties Wednesday night and the Thanksgiving holiday, CHANNEL 5 NEWS wanted to see how the Salvation Army is preparing.

Commanding officer of the Salvation Army, Captain Steve Correira says the cold weather is a problem in the Rio Grande Valley and brings a new set of issues.

"To make sure that our shelter is ready, that we have enough blankets and enough cots and enough food to feed everybody," said Correira.

He said they are prepared to receive anyone because of the cold weather, 100 additional cots are ready for those people.

It's where they're going to put those cots that could be a little bit of a challenge.

"We will take our emergency cots and we'll use the banquet hall, where we're going to serve Thanksgiving and we will turn that into another dormitory," Correira explained.

He's talking about the Thanksgiving meal the Salvation Army serves every year.

All week long, the Salvation Army has worked to prepare one of their biggest food rushes of the year.

"Preparations have already started because when you're cooking turkeys for 1,400 people or more you have to start early," Correira said.

The kitchen staff will arrive at 4 a.m. to prepare the meal.

In the case they have to move the extra cots into the banquet hall, Correira says they have about 150 volunteers to help them make that happen.

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