A Halifax shelter is asking for the public's help to supply them with items they're running low on due to an increase in demand. 

Out of the Cold is an emergency winter shelter open from Dec. 1 until Apr. 30 between 8:30 p.m. until 8 a.m. The facility is located in St. Matthew's United Church on Barrington Street. 

This season, the shelter cut the number of beds to allow more space for programs and outreach.

Organizer Shannon Aulenback ​said the number of people dropping in nightly has about doubled from the 10 to 15 typical of past years, resulting in the higher demand for some items. 

"There's a couple of things we've been running extra low on, especially in the last week or two," he said.

Here's some of the more urgent items the shelter is looking for:

  • Men's jogging pants

  • Men's pyjamas

  • Men's hoodies

  • Men's underwear (new)

  • Men's socks (new)

  • Granola bars (peanut free)

  • Juice boxes

  • Fresh fruit

  • Coffee, especially decaf

  • Gift certificates for grocery cards

  • Bus tickets

'Part of a community'

Aulenback said the focus on a community drop-in time offers more for clients. Drop in is between 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., "where folks can just come and be part of a community." 

The shelter provides food, movies for people to watch, and even occasional cooking classes, tax advice and free haircuts.  

"We choose to scale back on how many beds we have and use them very intentionally ... for those who definitely don't have any other options who definitely can't stay anywhere else. What that did, in turn, is it actually freed up some space that we wanted to use for extra drop-in space," he said.

"Our numbers, in terms of people kind of dropping in and hanging out, getting some food, chatting with us — those numbers are way up because people are actually using that space that we've intentionally made for that."

Jacqueline Vincent, a volunteer and community programs director, said the shelter is thankful to those who donate.

"We really appreciate all of the support that we get from the community, in terms of donations and volunteer support and we wouldn't be able to do the work that we do without that," said Vincent.