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Frederick Community Bands Together to Help the Homeless

The city pulled together to make sure the men didn't have to spend the night out in the cold.
FREDERICK, Md. - The Frederick community came together to help a group of men who are homeless a
fter some unexpected cold weather last Friday. The city pulled together to make sure the men didn't have to spend the night out in the cold.

Cold wind and a sharp chill filled the air along Market Street Monday, conditions similar to last weekend.

"It was apparent that the weather was going to get very cold that night, and I started getting panicking phone calls from people who have no homes, who were wondering what they were going to do that night," said
Dan Rupli, an attorney.

Calls began going in to On Our Own, an organization that helps people with mental disabilities and addictions.

"Alan asked if I mind keeping the place open. I said of course not," said Ted Randolph, facility manager for On Our Own.

Those at On Our Own decided to keep the business open after a suggestion from Frederick City Police. About a dozen men, who are homeless, worried they might freeze to death in the weather.

The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs has a cold-weather shelter, but it's not ready to open for a few more weeks.

"It's really based upon the weather. When winter comes and the weather gets cold, 32 degrees or below, and it's more than one night, it's usually consecutive nights," said Rev. Brian Scott, executive director at the Religious Coalition.

The men planned to stay at On Our Own but found out some surprising news from a city official. Alderman Kelly Russell bought five rooms at Travelodge.

"You could just see and feel that things were going to change and work together," said Doug Fraley, who is homeless.

Frederick City Police brought some of the men to the hotel, where they stayed overnight.

"It's certainly good to work with the community, and it's the chief's philosophy that we provide our community service to Frederick. We feel good about it, working with On Our Town and city officials," said
Lt. Dwight Sommers, with the Frederick City Police Department.

Others involved in helping the men noticed the work of city police.

"The police were above and beyond. They did everything we asked and more," Randolph said.

The men are grateful of the community's generosity and hopeful for one thing in the future.

"I'd like more buildings available for any individual or families to get in and out of the cold and storms, the inclement weather," Fraley said.

It's an act of kindness many will remember for years to come.

The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs is currently looking for volunteers and donations for their cold-weather shelter. The shelter is open seven days a week from mid-November through sometime in March. Dozens of donations are needed, including cleaning supplies, hot chocolate, pillow cases, XL coats, and adult underwear and undershirts. For information on how you can help, click here.
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