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Code Purple Sussex County desperately needs volunteers

As the weather turns colder, many homeless people in Delaware need a place to stay, especially at night. And Code Purple Sussex County is trying to make as many shelters available as possible.

Code Purple Sussex County opened seven of its nine shelters Sunday night. The shelters are active when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.

Code Purple Sussex executive director Nikki Gonzalez says the organization’s goal is to have all nine shelters available through March 15, 2020, but a shortage of volunteers to staff them is currently an issue.


“We need a lot of help in a lot of places, especially Georgetown and Delmar. So that’s the crucial piece - because it’s not very safe to have a shelter open with no oversight,” said Gonzalez.

And Gonzalez notes volunteers also take on a number of vital roles.


“We also need intake workers to help welcome them and do intake forms," said Gonzalez. "We also need dinners every night at each shelter. There’s a 106 nights that we’re open.”


Gonzalez says she sees a number of reasons for the shortage.


“I think people - they have some fear. And I also think it’s the holiday month; Christmas is around the corner and a lot of people are very busy this time of month with extra family stuff and shopping," said Gonzalez. "However, the weather doesn’t stop just for Christmas, so we still need help.”

Gonzalez says in 2018, 300 people were served at Sussex County’s seven shelters.

Anyone interested in volunteering to staff a shelter or to cook dinners for a shelter, can do so here.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.