What a white flag means on cold nights in Wilmington - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

What a white flag means on cold nights in Wilmington

The white flag serves as a welcome to anyone needing a place to stay warm. The white flag serves as a welcome to anyone needing a place to stay warm.
Bags are stacked in the hallway at Good Shepherd Center on a cold Monday night. Bags are stacked in the hallway at Good Shepherd Center on a cold Monday night.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – There was a white flag flying from Good Shepherd Center Monday night, sending a message of welcome to anyone needing shelter from the frigid wind and single-digit temperatures, according to Executive Director Katrina Knight.

"The idea is to be welcoming to them and to not put a lot of barriers between them and access to services," explained Knight.

Knight said that welcome extends to everyone, including the individuals who might have had a recent spat with staff or someone who was asked to leave during a previous stay.

"They would be better off with us," Knight said. "Even just for a night or two."

But there's more to the center than a brief stay. Knight said the hope is the white flag will attract anyone who typically does not turn to a shelter for assistance.

"Maybe it triggers a different thought," she said. "And maybe they begin to stay with us for the longer term and we have a month of two with them."

What the staff at Good Shepherd Center can do in two months instead of two days is establish a relationship and build trust. Knight said that can inspire a homeless person to want to live indoors again.

"We can see it, but we need to help them to begin to see that too."

Monday is just the most recent white fly night after a cold holiday season, according to Knight. She said the center is doing fine, but continued days of above average guests can be a strain on resources.

Knight said an asset that's always in demand is bedding, like sheets and pillow cases.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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